Next Saturday, the current governor of Lagos state will be seeking re-election. But how has he fared over the past four years? Here’s what his report card looks like.
He banned motorcycles in Lagos
In January 2020, less than a year into his tenure, Governor Sanwo-Olu decided that commercial motorcycles were no longer a part of the mega plan he had for Lagos and that they just had to go. It didn’t matter that the state had a terrible traffic situation, or that most people had no alternative.
The result: Lagosians had to trek… everywhere. Ride-hailing companies like Gokada, Max, and Opay laid off thousands of people, leaving them without a means of livelihood.
Closed down the Eko bridge
On March 11, 2020, Sanwo-Olu closed down the Eko Bridge in the early hours of the day without prior notice, causing a lot of people to be stuck in traffic in other areas.
The result: Commute became harder for people and the traffic got worse. The bridge was later reopened, but it was closed again after a fire gutted a section of it last year. It’s remained closed ever since.
The Lekki shootings happened under his watch
On the 3rd day of the ENDSARS protest, the 20th of October, Sanwo-Olu announced a curfew that would start at 4 p.m. This was ignoring the fact that it was a weekday and many people were outside. People kicked back against it, and the curfew was moved to 8 p.m. By 7 p.m., Sanwo-Olu called in the army and they arrived at the toll gate.
The result: Dozens of people were massacred at the gates and Sanwo-Olu still denies any involvement in the incident.
He told people to roll up their windows when they got robbed
In 2021, after the Eko bridge was finally reopened, insecurity had gone up in Lagos and people were getting robbed in traffic on the bridge. What did he say? “Roll up your windows and stay safe.”
He “increased” the salaries of civil servants in Lagos
In October 2022, Sanwo-Olu announced that he was going to increase the salary of civil servants in Lagos by the end of the month.
Result: 2022 is gone, and 2023 is here, but the pay raise is yet to be implemented. Why that is the case, it’s currently unclear.
He asked containers to stop falling off the Ojuelegba bridge
Who knew that all we needed to do was to just ask nicely and containers would stop falling?
Containers falling off bridges have been an issue for so long in Lagos. Since 2015, at least 20 people have been killed in accidents involving containers in Lagos State. Instead of erecting a simple barrier on these bridges to prevent huge trucks from using them at all, he simply said he’s not going to tolerate containers falling off bridges anymore. We’re sure the containers won’t try it again.
He bought 62 fire trucks for the Lagos state fire service
This is commendable considering how often fire outbreaks happen in markets and different areas of Lagos. Sanwo-Olu inaugurated 200 fire trucks in October 2022 to be used by the fire service authorities in the state for quick response to fire outbreaks.
He commissioned Lagos’s first light rail
Earlier this year, Sanwo-Olu commissioned the first phase of the Lagos Blue Line with President Muhammadu Buhari. It’s a light rail system that had been planned as far back as 1983 before it was scrapped by the same person, Muhammadu Buhari. The line runs from Okokomaiko to Marina, and we were told to expect two more lines after this one.
This is expected to ease up traffic within Lagos over time. But a few days ago, fire razed a section of the blue line and the fire service was reported to be super late to the incident.
Overall Grade: E
Why? Despite the pockets of work he did here and there, he oversaw one of the worst cases of human rights abuse this country has seen in the past few years.