By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Lagos State has recovered from the psychological trauma that followed the massive destruction of public assets during the EndSARS protest, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.
Mr. Sanwo-Olu spoke during a Channels Television programme; “Sunday Politics”, in which he listed his administration’s efforts to achieve A Greater Lagos.
Many landmark buildings were destroyed in Lagos by hoodlums who hijacked the protest. Such buildings include the iconic City Hall, Lagos High Court, shopping malls, forensic laboratory and Oba’s Palace.
Besides, about 200 new high-capacity buses were burnt in the unprecedented carnage.
The Governor said: “We have recovered psychologically from the destruction but we are still working on infrastructure recovery, knowing fully well that such takes time and huge resources to achieve. For instance, we are building an imposing multi-court structure to replace the burnt Lagos High Court, Igbosere.”
Describing the loss as “huge”, Sanwo-Olu said lessons had been learnt as the destruction was “a collateral damage” the state bore, noting that the state had no part in the events that led to the protest.On the Blue and Red Lines rail projects, the Governor assured residents that operations on the Blue Line would commence by the end of year 2022. The Red Line will start in the first quarter of next year.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We can assure you that we won’t exceed the promise that the operations will start in the first quarter of 2023. We want to ensure that physical infrastructure is completed by December, latest; all stations, bridges, walkways and pedestrian bridges, so that they can start testing. Operationally, it will take two to three months. We need to check signalling and all the signalisation. So, we hope that operations will start within the first quarter of 2023. They will start carrying the first passengers from January.”
Asked if Lagosians would vote for him again, the Governor said his administration had earned the trust of Lagosians to stand him a good chance in 2023 elections as he emphasised that the audiences in the state are discerning as conversations centre around what the administration has done to make living better for residents.
“In an emergency, it is in the interest of the people to go for an experienced person to handle the situation rather than choose someone who is not familiar or has not handled the issue concerned. This is real governance. I have the greatest respect for all the candidates but the governance of Lagos is not for trial and error; you have to hit the ground running.
“If you have an emergency at 3a.m, who would you call? What are your chances? Do you call a man that has experience, that has gone through the trenches before, that has lived with it and understands what the issues are and appreciates the challenges you have at that 3a.m? Or will you leave your chances to someone that does not know where the dial is or that does not know what the issues of governance are? On all of these, I believe I have earned the trust and confidence of Lagosians,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu also stated that his administration has trained no fewer than 400,000 people in new skills since he assumed office in 2019.
He said: “We’re building a new Command and Control Centre for the waterways and data centre for security. We’re dealing with security issues in Lagos. We are working with the entire security architecture in the state to ensure that the citizens are safe and secure.”