He (Gov Sanwoolu) stood up from his chair, walked to the white board and picked up the marker, drew something that represented the rail line and market the point of the CMS station. “The train will terminate here, and from there you can connect to the island by our BRT buses”. It was a busy afternoon around October 2019, just after he had won the primaries. “What we must achieve is a Multimodal Transport System - rail, water, road and air linking together. We have to open the coastal and regional road to the Lekki Airport…….” he said.
To all of us sitting in that room in Eko Hotel that day, during one of our strategy sessions, he created a picture that could have been deemed impossible. But today, Jide Sanwoolu has shown that he came to this office, prepared to lead and bring to life the visions of the Founding Father of Morden Lagos, ASIWAJU Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Just a month ago, on 4th September 2023, a man notably known for his enormous enviable strides and tenacious commitment to the greatness and development of Lagos State, one who passionately declares ‘Igbega Eko, Ajumose ni’ and tirelessly walk the talk, took the first ride as Lagos began the operation of its monumental blue line rail services - another promise made in the THEMES AGENDA.
Babajide SANWO-OlU, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, whose relentless determination in the transformational work of making Lagos a 21st Century Mega City, took a remarkable step further as he announced the commencement of the operation of the blue line rail services in the state. Worthy of note is the undeniable ripple effect of this mighty feat on the quality of living in Lagos.
Since its commencement, over 350 trips, and 75,000 people have been successfully conveyed via the blue line rail system to their homes, schools, work places, businesses, and back home to their families and loved ones hitch free. Beyond reasonable doubt, the concluded phase 1 of the blue line rail project, as well as the prospective red line, would positively impact on the lives of residents across the state, which will lead a stress-free and decongested Lagos transport system, consequently propelling the economic growth and development of the state to greater heights.
We have seen it work in the water transport sector run by LAGFERRY and LASWA. Sanwoolu’s not just invested in his transport vision but also headhunted quality men and women in the likes of Dami Emmanuel, Ladi Balogun and for LAMATA - Abimbola Akinajo. Investment in Boats, additional buses including the last mile buses and introduction of LAGRIDE is what Sanwoolu has continued to do to OPENLAGOS.
Unarguably, the rail service is the biggest boost to the new town development vision of Lagos, due to its ability to connect the hinterland to the cities, where in no time soon, the heart of Lagos to Badagry can be traversed within thirty (30) minutes or less, as well as aiding students of Lagos State University (LASU) to and fro their campus daily and hitch free.
My cousin who lives in Apapa road, would now seamlessly make his trip through the National Theatre station to Mile 2, and then joining the BRT bus all the way to LASU Campus, and back home at night in no time, easing off the financial burdens of families who have had to extend further into their limited coffers to rent apartments for their children hitherto, cutting cost in the process. Communities once forgotten will be opened up to immeasurable development opportunities, and general well-being of the residents when the rail system fully extend across Lagos as Governor Sanwoolu fully envisioned.
Needless to say, SANWO-OLU is still working. The blue line rail services amongst his other tremendous achievements so far in the state include but not limited to, Imota Rice Mill, Red Line rail, the Proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge, numerous housing projects in different parts of Lagos, school infrastructure development projects by SCRPS/SUBEB and road projects across the state.
These projects have the capacity to employ over a million Nigerians, mostly youths, thereby substantially reducing unemployment in the state and by extension, the country. Furthermore, the drive by the governor to clean up Lagos, evident in the audacious steps by the new commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo WAHAB to engender a clean and healthy natural environment of Lagos state, is worthy of note.
Overall, the indefatigable quest of SANWO-OLU to deliver a transformed and world class Lagos state across all sector will undoubtedly bring to full fruition the delivery of the aforementioned projects, most especially the 4th Mainland bridge for the benefit of all, which will surely give rise to a sustainable and robust development of the state and the country at large.
Babajide SANWO-OLU, My impeccable executive governor is still working.... Congrats Lagosians
Dayo Israel, a proud Lagosian and the National Youth Leader of the All Progressive Congress writes from Ebute-Metta.