Lagos LG polls: A testament of Sanwo-Olu’s developmental strides
ANAYO EZUGWU reports on the outcome of last weekend’s local government elections in Lagos State and how achievements of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s impacted on the victory of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state
tion.. Equally, the resolve of the governor to work with the leadership of the APC in the state led the state chairman, Tunde Balogun and other stakeholders in the party across the 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs was an added advantage to APC’s victory in the council polls as the party leaders and members irrespective of their differences worked together towards winning the hearts of the electorate for APC in the state.
The Governor Sanwo-Olu, who voted at Unit 019, Ward 9, Lateef Jakande/Femi Okunnu Avenue, Ikoyi, said the election offered Lagosians the opportunity to exercise their franchise by voting their preferred candidates for the various councils.
“This is the only time we can express ourselves freely. It’s a question of the encouragement and advocacy that we need to continue to give to our citizens. All the logistics have been provided, it’s just for our people to come out and exercise their franchise. We will continue to improve on the advocacy.”
Since the return of Nigeria to civilian administration and birth of Fourth Republic on May 29, 1999, Lagos State has remained one of the few states in the country run by the same political structure. The state has never left the path of the progressive politics even at the local government level.
The first governor in the Fourth Republic, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu came into power under the auspices of Alliance for Democracy (AD), which later metamorphosed to Action Congress (AC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Through this political transition, the party’s focus on bottom up developmental initiatives did not change.
The local government council administration was at the centre of every action plan. This accounted for the creation of 37 more local council development areas by the Tinubu administration in order to bring governance closer to the people at the grassroots.
The development continued under the All Progressives Congress (APC), which came into being in 2014 after the merger between the ACN, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and factions of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Two years after, the ruling party swept the 20 local governments and 37 LCDA chairmanship seats.
It also won 370 out of the 377 councillorship seats during the 2017 council elections in the state.
The outcome of last weekend’s council polls show that Governor Sanwo-Olu is also guarding the “legacy” jealously as his emergence as governor has strengthened the ruling party in Lagos State, making it an acceptable party to Lagosians due to his developmental strides in the last two years.
Sanwo-Olu’s for a “Greater Lagos” vision, which he is already bringing to life through the THEMES developmental agenda has been a blessing to the political fold.
While the APC is savouring its victory in the polls, the main opposition party, PDP, insisted that the elections were rigged in favour of the ruling party. Consequently, the party rejected the outcome of the elections.
The party in a statement said: “We outrightly reject any result already released or that would be released and we hereby state that a decision will be taken as regards our next line of action, after the collation of our results and due consultation with our lawyers.
As a party that is the pioneers of democracy in the country, we believe it is in the best interest of our youths and law abiding citizens of the state to seek redress legally, rather than lock horns with the ruling party in mobilizing thugs to shed blood in protecting our votes.
“We believe our success at the council elections is not worth the blood of any youth in the state. Our candid advice to our dear governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the chairman of LASIEC,
Justice Ayotunde Phillips is that this continued disregard for the rule of law and the spirit of fairness would definitely catch up with us one day, and we would all have to give personal accounts of our contributions to every situation, either negative or positive and take due responsibility of its outcome and consequent effect on our children and children’s children.”
Governor charges on performance
Despite PDP’s claims, the governor, who congratulated the newly elected chairmen and vice-chairmen in the state during their inauguration on Tuesday, tasked them on performance.
This, accordance him, will ensure that the electorate enjoy the dividends that true democracy brings.
The governor said the administrative and financial autonomy being enjoyed by local government areas and local council development areas in the state for almost two decades is not granted for nothing, but given to achieve a bottom-up growth model for the acceleration of coordinated development across the state.
He said local councils, as the closest tier of government to the people, must justify their autonomy by initiating people-oriented policies and programmes, which must focus on improving the lives and livelihood of citizens at the grassroots.
His words: “Today, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era in local government administration in Lagos State. A resounding statement has been made, once again, that Lagos is APC, and that the people of Lagos continue to regard our party as the most viable and most credible political choice for the most populous state and biggest subnational economy in the country.
We consider this overwhelming support as a vote of confidence in our administration and our great party, and it will never be taken for granted.
“I congratulate the newly elected chairmen and vice chairmen across all the LGAs and LCDAs. Your victory is an affirmation of trust in your competence, capacity and capability to discharge the responsibility of the Office you are stepping into. Being the closest tier of Government to the people, any gap or shortcoming in administration will be keenly felt by the people.
As a result, your policies and programmes must be people-oriented, focusing on how to improve the lives and livelihood of the people at the grassroots.” Sanwo-Olu reminded the council helmsmen that they came at a challenging time when the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had disrupted jobs, livelihoods and businesses across the State, noting that residents expected nothing short of good governance and policies that would enable their administrative areas navigate the difficult times and stand on a solid socio-economic footing.
This, he said, is part of their responsibilities and burdens as elected leaders, charging them to live up to their expectations. He reminded them that their tenure as council administrators was timebound, urging them to build their legacies from the first day on office.
“More than ever before, councils require cooperation among all levels and arms of government. It is expected that you will work in unity with other tiers of government to bring dividend of democracy to the people in all the relevant areas, such as construction and maintenance of inner roads, waste management, primary education, healthcare, security, and so on,” he said.
The governor extolled the leadership virtues of the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Tinubu, expressing gratitude to former Lagos Governor for his “unflinching dedication” to the party’s continued victory at all levels.
He also praised members of the APC Local Government Election Committee, led by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and the party executive members, led by State Chairman, Hon. Tunde Balogun, for delivering on the mandate entrusted to them. Commending LASIEC), the governor said the umpire had continued to live up to its responsibility and duties as enshrined in the law establishing it.
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed, said the robust support received by the chairmen showed systemic dynamism and entrenched political understanding in APC, stressing that the party always emerged stronger and more united after every contest in the state.
“It is important to remember that politicians derive their popularity and grassroots support from performance and constant delivery of dividends of democracy.
The task ahead of you, as council chairmen, is to sustain and even surpass the tempo of performance of previous administrations in your respective areas,” he said.
While there is no doubt that the outcome of the Lagos State local government elections has clearly redefined any narration about the political acumen and strategy of Governor Sanwo-Olu as a performing governor and good manager of party politics, it is the expectation of most APC stakeholders that the achievements recorded by the party during his tenure would be replicated in future elections in the state.