While famous American writer and author, Kenneth T. Walsh, believes that 100 days should not be the ideal yardstick to establish the success or otherwise of a leader or government, he still regards it as a functional device for measuring effectiveness It should, however, be stressed that success in the first 100 days does not really translate into an enduring success afterward.
In the same vein, initial difficulties do not, in any way, signify that a government is doomed to failure. It is neither here nor there, depending on the dynamics of the times and the personality of the political actors in charge.
In the political annals of Nigeria, examples abound to reinforce this perspective. The military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida, which came into office in August 1985, clearly stands out as one that enjoyed early momentum but couldn’t actually translate it into a lasting phenomenon.
Within its first 100 days in office, the administration came out with well defined political and economic blueprints that were well applauded by a cross-section of Nigerians. Ironically, by the time the administration was stampeded out of office in 1993, it has become a deficit in integrity and popularity.
On the contrary, upon return to civil rule in May 1999, the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration was roundly attacked for being allegedly slow intending to critical issues of governance. However, by the time the administration eventually got its act together, it left behind enduring legacies such as Lagos State Advertising Agency, LASAA, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, Lagos Asset Management, LAGBUS, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Agency, LAMATA, Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, Office of Public Defender, among others, are some of the long-term legacies of the administration.
History has, however, shown that it is possible for a government to begin well and also finish well. One typical example is that of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande (LKJ) in Lagos State (1979-1983). From the outset, Jakande had pledged to model his government after that of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria, from 1952 to 1959, headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He said: “That Government was the most efficient, the most dynamic, and the most responsive of all the Governments of the federation. There has never been a government like it in Africa before or since.” True to his words, LKJ assiduously went to work to realise his vision.
To date, many of his populist policies and programs, especially in the housing, public transportation, and education sectors, still endear him to all and sundry. The ambitious Lagos metro line project, which, if it had seen the light of the day, would have revolutionized public transportation in the State, was conceived by his administration. Some of the Housing Estates he established across various locations such as Iba, Isolo, Iponri, Ejigbo etc, are still serving the housing needs of Lagosians. It was under his administration that movement into State’s current Secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja, began. Also, the first State-owned Television in the country, Lagos Television, LTV, was established by him. He equally established the Lagos State University, LASU, in 1983. His administration also constructed waterworks at Shasha, Agege, Somolu, Apapa, Badagry, Aguda, etc to improve water supply and avoid an outbreak of waterborne epidemics.
Similarly, the Babatunde Raji Fashola administration in Lagos state (2007-2015) started well and also ended gloriously. Fashola’s dream of a new Lagos transcended his tenure. He wanted to build a Lagos that is similar to reputable international cities like London, Mumbai, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Delhi, Dubai, Bangkok, and Cairo among others. His government worked with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to realise the $1.5 billion Lagos Energy City Project as well as the audacious $3.5 billion Atlantic City Project which intends to accommodate over 250,000 Lagosians who are to live and work in the city.
From every indication, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has demonstrated that he is also working along with the same enviable model of his illustrious predecessors who started well and finished well. In order to validate the Executive Order on Environmental and Sanitation Matters, the governor has expanded the Olusosun dumpsite to 42 acres to accommodate more waste and ensure that trucks can have a quicker turnaround time. A resource center has been built and commissioned at the dumpsite further strengthen the capacity of operatives in the sector to collect recyclable materials.
In the same vein, the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) has begun a Lagos at 4 am programme that is aimed at stemming the tide of indiscriminate waste disposal across the metropolis. Also, the Agency has acquired a Briquette facility, which can process about 1,700 kg of sawdust per hour, in Agbowa (Ikorodu division). In order to sustain current environmental regeneration momentum, the Lagos State Blue Box Recycling at the Simpson Transfer Loading Station, Lagos Island, was recently launched.
With a view to empowering more Lagosians, a sum of N4 billion has been set aside as a grant under the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) W-Initiative. The initiative kicked off a few days ago and in line with its philosophy of giving opportunities to women, 50% of beneficiaries of the initiative are targeted to be women. Also, about 1,700 people have been shortlisted to benefit from a World Bank assisted Agricultural programme with each of the beneficiaries receiving the sum of N2 million. In public health, the Maternal and Child Centre (MCC) at Ajah, in Eti-Osa Local Government, has been opened for public use.
The MCC reflects the Sanwo-Olu administration’s commitment to the provision of unhindered access to medical care by the citizenry. Recently, the administration’s 4 -week free medical initiative tagged: “Healthy Bee Project”, 4-week programme, attended to medical needs of over 25,000 Lagosians.
Similarly, as part of strategic efforts to meet the housing needs of Lagosians, the Alhaji Lateef Jakande Garden; Igando, had been commissioned. In furtherance of the plans to promote public security, which is an integral part of the administration’s THEME agenda, 120 Patrol Vehicles, and 35 Motorcycles were donated for the use of Security Operatives in Lagos state by the state government. From what it has achieved thus far, the Sanwo-Olu administration is certainly poised to realise its vision of a Greater Lagos.
Ogunbiyi writes from Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.