(Opinion)Sanwo-Olu!,Sanwo-Olu !! Sanwo-Olu!!! By Frank Meke
There are times and situations that we must be boldly seen to take a stand for public good. Indeed, it’s forthright to throw one’s towel around a human sweater and enabler of progress, peace and development.
Saturday, March 11th, is so decisively important that some of us, particularly in our tourism space must step up and stand out to be counted with governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for a second term as Lagos State Governor.
Interestingly, in past two weeks, some concerned tourism trade practitioners and entrepreneurs, across board, had thrown their weight and mind behind the business of Sanwo-Olu re- election.
I will make one or two confessions before going deep into this testimonial offerings for a governor who has made governance look easy and attractive.
The mind, human mind, is the engine room for perfection of all that are so meaningful and important about leadership. No wonder, God looks at the heart, the mind of an individual, not the height, beauty or academic status, before choosing those who must leave legacies and must be known to turn around fortunes of peoples and nations.
In a nation where leaders exploit and enslave the citizenry, governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would rather pick up a man from the gutters, brush and clean him up, and goes out to his duties as if nothing really happened.
Last week, one read a face book posting of our soccer legend, Segun Odegbemi on his encounter with governor Sanwo-Olu over Henry Nwosu, former Nigerian soccer bearer who was sick nearly unto death, until Sanwo-Olu appeared like an angel of God and Henry Nwosu, Igbo by birth ,is alive today and kicking. Governor Sanwo-Olu never mentioned it anywhere, Odegbemi did.
Odegbemi piece, was touching, the simplicity of Sanwo-Olu, his humility and self denial to see that one of us, many of us, live to call lagos a home. I wept!
Back to our beat, industry leaders in lagos cutting across tribal lines and indeed reflective of the beauty of cultural tourism diversity, gathered to jaw jaw on Sanwo-Olu, a gift to the industry in lagos and to the players.
Let me credit Gbenga Sumonu, President of Nigeria Hotel and Catering Institute who marshalled other influencers to join the campaign for Sanwo-Olu return to second leadership missionary journey to lagos House. There’s was also Apkata Samson Nuyson.
This unprecedented gesture, yet unseen except for the re- election of Babatunde Fashola which Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun led Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria ( ATBOWATON) successfully brokered, from one littoral community to another in Lagos, and indeed counted, nothing is near to what Gbenga Sumonu has in mind.
However, this piece, revalidates and reinforces the aggregation of Lagos industry professionals to return and repay a good listener and tourism care giver, ( Babajide Sanwo-Olu) with an industry estimated 40 % voting ranking of the six million registered voters in the city of aquatic splendour.
Now to key developmental milestones. Yes, rail, road and waterways transportation ecosystem in Lagos, many may not have not have the sod laying fingers of the governor, the truth however remains that no governor in Lagos, worked assiduously as Sanwo-Olu to connect the three intermodal system, strategically and deliberately targeted at getting the city dwellers to drop cars out of the roads and to connect movements of goods and persons through the well thought transportation systems.
Averagely and a wonder, lagosians and their visitors, groan through long vehicular traffic wasting valuable productive hours, the presence of its brown water economy, begged for true interpretation until Sanwo-Olu, factored an awareness driven mass facilities engineering process, backed with technology and live saving equipment to the bargain.
I speak of Lagos waters because it potentially has capacity to filter out the well-being and survival of Nigeria’ biggest city economy, the third largest in Africa and those who live in glittering space.
At Falomo, Ikoyi office of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, Sanwo-Olu purchased and installed a modern maritme control room with equipment to monitor and respond to critical emergencies, and also assisting waterway users and commercial boat operators with information on weather reports , thus making the use of water transportation attractive.
And unknown to many people, 60 per cent of the city dwellers, live , trade and commute from the littoral communities of Epe, Badagry, Ikorodu, Apapa, Badore( Victoria Island), contributing to ecomarine and recreation services economy of the state.
To those of us that love to drive and power logistics businesses, connecting lagos various local governments , is now fun made by governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. From Agege, Surulere, Ikorodu, Epe and Badagry, communities link roads and bridges, are so delivered delightfully, redistributing population evenly across the state as it responds to challenges of pressures of urbanisation and estates development.
To our tourism space, off course supportive to its expansion and provision of various cultural tourism and hospitality offerings, Sanwo-Olu’s remodeling and enhancement of heritage sites, museums , local theatres and galleries, including grants to creativeness, stands him out for re- election.
In all these, frontline persons and private sector influencers such as Gbenga Sumonu, opins that the industry must stand up and canvas for sanwo-0lu from village to village, one eatery to another, and from one city bus to another.
Though rails have been tasted and waiting for deployment, Sanwo-Olu second coming surely, will spread the tourism prosperity and enhance the value chain of the business and to which will further up the destination ranking of lagos, boosting the livelihood of tourism practitioners.
However, one must suggest that our governor on second mission, surely and well footed, must redefine, privatise Lagos ferry, which has not lived up to expectations to giving lagosians cheap and visible capacity to move at speed and connecting effortlessly the city littoral communities opportunities.
Possible and prayerfully, on Saturday, after we shall count the votes and shout, in Epe, Badagry, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, Surulere, Apapa, Agege and Alimosho, Sanwo-Olu,! Sanwo-Olu,! Sanwo-Olu!!, Sanwo-Olu,!!!! Sanwo-Olu!!!! Sanwo-0lu!!! and Sanwo-Olu!!! , then, we can be rest assured that our industry shall finish well, provide more jobs, enhance security and effectively empower our youths. Gbenga Sumonu are you there?
On Saturday, March 11th, few days away, ignore mischief makers and tribal jingoists, vote the man wey sabi, the man wey love everyone as his own, search his heart, look at his works, and reward him with our vote for being faithful to the call to serve. Me? I stand with Sanwo-Olu!
Frank Meke, a Media and Tourism Consultant is based in Lagos