•Interventions To Address Specific Challenges At Grassroots, Says Governor
•Gesture, A New Dawn In Governance – APC Chairman
BEFORE a modest crowd of party chiefs, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, announced the fulfilment of one of the key promises of his electioneering campaign – the execution of 377 projects across all the wards in the State.
Under “Operation 377”, which is said to be first of its kind in the state, over 250 roads will be built and 23 power projects will be done. Deputy Governor Dr Kadri Obafemi Hamzat will lead the execution of the projects.
At the brief but symbolic ceremony at the Adeyemi Bero Hall,Government Secretariat, Alausa, were some members of the Executive Council, All Progressives Congress Local Council chairmen, councillors and scores of party stalwarts, led by the State’s chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Tunde Balogun.
Sanwo-Olu said the intervention was initiated in response to the series of requests by the various communities across the State to address specific challenges. He said the execution of the projects would change the narrative about grassroots development and the Government’s responsibilities.
He said: “The state-wide 377 ward projects being launched today are state intervention projects in grassroots development. The projects are conceived in response to requests by the various communities across the State to address specific challenges. These projects are not universal; they are diverse, reflecting the needs of each ward across the state.
“The implementation of the projects will commence immediately after this official flag-off, as contractors have been fully mobilized to move to the sites. I urge residents who are the ultimate beneficiaries of these projects to take ownership of them by monitoring the implementation process and ensure that the jobs conform to the quality and standards specified in the project designs.”
Sanwo-Olu said identifying the needs and the design of the projects was in line with the concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and participatory governance in which the people are considered as key stakeholders.
The Governor described the grassroots as “the bedrock of development”, stressing that the projects were strategic in promoting the wellbeing of the people across communities. He said his administration would continue to give residents a voice on issues that affect them.
As he spoke, the party chiefs applauded. They stood up, cheering as he asked them to take the message back to the grassroots that his administration was ready to fulfill its campaign promises.
Sanwo-Olu said: “This administration’s development agenda is driven by the spirit to build a Greater Lagos that is livable and conducive for the growth and development of enterprise. The dream of a Greater Lagos is not exclusive; it is predicated on the principle of inclusiveness by which development is not considered as satisfactory until it has addressed the yearnings of the greatest number of the people who contribute to the commonwealth.”
Sanwo-Olu urged all public officers to be responsible in dealing with the people, noting that governance would be meaningless without the input of the people from whose mandate public officers derived their powers.
Dr Hamzat, who is the Chairman of the Projects’ Implementation Committee, said all contractors would move to their sites next Monday, noting that the intervention was in demonstration of the Governor’s campaign promise to run an inclusive administration.
He said the projects’ selection followed a meeting between the Governor and all 377 councillors across the State during which Sanwo-Olu asked them to name specific projects they wanted executed in their wards.
After identifying the projects, Hamzat said, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget and professionals in public service evaluated the cost of the projects. This effort, the Deputy Governor said, was followed by a re-evaluation by an independent consultant.
Giving the breakdown of the projects, Hamzat said the Government would be building 257 community roads and drainage. He added that 86 public buildings would be rehabilitated. Two jetties, nine water projects and 23 power projects will be installed across the wards.
All the projects, the Deputy Governor said, are distributed across the three senatorial districts.Wards across Lagos Central will be havE 94 projects, Lagos East will have 99 and wards AND Lagos West 184 projects.
Hamzat said: “The projects will be implemented by contractors in collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Directorate of Technical Service, Lagos State Electricity Board and Public Works Corporation. Supervision and monitoring of the projects will be done in collaboration with the ward councillors and party executives.”
APC Chairman Tunde Balogun described the projects as “grassroots-focused”, confirming that the Sanwo-Olu administration was the first to embark on such massive projects across wards in a single move.
By directly engaging the councillors in the execution of the projects, the party chairman said. the Governor has established a strong connection with the grassroots.
Chairman of APC in Ikoyi-Obalende Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Prince Abiodun Abu, who spoke on behalf of all the party chairmen across councils, described the intervention “a new dawn” in the history of governance in Lagos.
“The State Government has been investing in provision of infrastructure to make the State’s economy stronger and give people a new lease of life. Despite these efforts, the Governor still found the reason to touch the grassroots by initiating these 377 projects. With this, Sanwo-Olu will be leaving a lasting impact on the grassroots,” he said.
He said it would accelerate development across communities in the State.
Hon. Nurudeen Alimi, spoke on behalf of the 377 councillors, saying the Governor, by the gesture, had taken “dividends of democracy” to the grassroots in a way never seen before in the State.