Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor-elect of Lagos State, has revealed the reason he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at his office in Aso Rock, in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
According to Sanwo-Olu, their mission in Abuja was to congratulate Buhari on winning a second term in office.
The President also congratulated the duo on their victory in the Lagos governorship election.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Sanwo-Olu said: “It is important for the Deputy Governor-elect and myself to have a one-on-one short discussion with the Commander-in-Chief, and it’s a rare privilege. It was a short one, just to say congratulations to him on his own election and he also said the same thing to us. So it’s a very short courtesy visit to Mr. President.”
The incoming Governor said Lagosians should expect a lot of solutions to many of the challenges they face in areas of transportation, housing, waste management, health and education, adding that he and his deputy have the competence and capabilities that would bring good governance as soon as they are sworn in.
”We are actually very excited,” he said.
“We are excited because we’ve seen all the challenges ahead of us and we know that given all the plans and strategies we are putting in place for execution, we will certainly be bringing about solutions that will solve various challenges in Lagos very quickly. ‘We know that with a mega city of our status, it comes with a lot of challenges, but we are lucky that we have been part of it before now and we are excited that the solutions we are bringing up, many of which we told our people on the campaign trail. We are sure we will very quickly, be able to bring about positive development that will improve the quality of lives and ease all of the challenges that we currently have in Lagos.”
On the recent building collapse in the state, he said the current government in the state is doing all that is possible to ensure building codes are strictly adhered to and that his administration would strengthen the existing codes and also apply the rules without pandering to sentiments.
”It’s an unfortunate incident. I used to be the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Building Collapse. That was about 10 years ago, which was what led us to create an agency called Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA). It was meant to identify structures well ahead before issues like this begin to happen. But it’s an unfortunate thing, extremely very unfortunate and it also means that we expect it would happen again if nothing drastic is done to check it. Our administration will strengthen the agency and apply the law without sentiments.
“Lagos truly really needs regeneration, especially Lagos Island and that was part of the things we promised on the campaign trail. So, it’s to have a conversation with all of the families on the Island and we’ll see the kind of redevelopment that is important as it’s being done by a lot of other big cities like Lagos.”
Speaking on the issue of urban renewal, Sanwo-Olu said proper enumeration of properties is the ultimate solution to achieve success. He said once properties are properly enumerated and the owners see the government’s sincerity of purpose, they will key into it and regeneration can take place.
”Well, it’s really not that regeneration has been a challenge, but because we have not been able to see it through to the end. When you want to take people’s properties and you want to regenerate, they must first see the sincerity of purpose; what are the additional plans that you have for them? Before you could regenerate, there must be a stop gap; in the next two to three years what are the plans you have for them? And you need to do what we call proper enumeration. Once you can enumerate properly and determine who the original owners are, and you sit and have an agreement, then the regeneration will start.
”But like I have said, the major thing is sincerity of purpose, knowing full well that you are not out to circumvent them or to short-change them. Once that is put on the table very clearly and transparently, I believe that as it’s also done in other jurisdictions, we will make success of it,” Sanwo-Olu stated.