Lagos is ready to take-on the world with the digitisation of basic schools' curriculum and deployment of modern techniques in teaching to maximise learning in all state-owned primary schools. Before this much attention on education, Lagos has enjoyed an impressive reputation as the land of digital nomads, who make defining contributions to several 'Silicon Valley' innovations...
When Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in company of Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, his deputy, walked the length and breadth of Lagos State, canvassing for votes and making promises, little did the electorate know that fulfilling those promises would be this early in coming.
But in quick succession, Governor Sanwo-Olu is hitting the mark and uprooting the seed of doubt forced on many minds by what was wrongly considered a brief moment of torpor, following his assumption of office.
Like ecstatic spectators at a relay race, those who tended to have forgotten the pace of the finishing athlete, but focused on the baton-receiving runner to lead the race because of their trust in his vim, are now convinced of the distinction in Governor Sanwo-Olu's strides.
Reassuringly, Mr. Sanwo-Olu has stepped-up his pace and caught-up with the perennial false starters like bad roads, traffic gridlocks, social insecurity, environmental challenges and waste management. With a wave of hand, roads across the State are becoming increasingly motorable and traffic gridlocks departing our roads considerably.
The fun of the year-end festivity was not marred by any ridiculous traffic logjam and security challenge. While the contractors mobilised to major roads worked day and night, Governor Sanwo-Olu stood firm to ensure that potholes were mended for the smooth ride of everyone.
Now, with the government's manifestation in infrastructural development and the rehabilitation of Itamaga-Ijede, Bola-Tinubu, Igbogbo-Imota and Owutu-Agric-Isawo roads, Governor Sanwo-Olu has returned to his pervasive visibility that connected him to the electorate during the electioneering campaign.
Similar to the popular experience of Sanwo-Olu appearing at every nook and cranny of the State, canvassing for votes, projects execution, like the completion of abandoned roads and the Maternal and Child Care Centre (MCC), urban renewal developments, the commissioning of low-cost housing estates and a litany of completed roads across the State, especially the thirty-one forsaken ones in the Ojokoro area of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Council Development, are the new symbolism of the governor's state-wide presence.
From Governor Sanwo-Olu's execution template, it is not unlikely to imply that his government only determined to address the infrastructural deficits holding down the State from absolute greatness. Arriving at such a conclusion would qualify as a reasoned observation, given the frequency of the governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat at project sites across the State.
Soon, the Maternal and Child Care Centres (MCC) in Epe and Badagry will be opened, in addition to the two earlier commissioned ones in Igando and Sangotedo, to raise the tally to four, completed and delivered by the Sanwo-Olu administration.
Likewise, work has begun on the Lot B of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, stretching from Trade Fair Complex to Lagos State University (LASU) gate, following the completion and commissioning of the Lot A, a four-kilometre stretch from Agboju to the Trade Fair Complex, kicked-off by the Sanwo-Olu administration after years of abandonment.
The Lot C, which is the concluding phase of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway construction, about two kilometers from the LASU gate to Okokomaiko has been slated for construction immediately the Lot B is completed. The governor also enlisted the outstanding work on the completed Lot A - pedestrian walkways and streetlights - as priority undertakings.
Responsiveness seems to be the central attribute of Governor Sanwo-Olu's administration. This is validated by his methodical handling of the State's security matters. Aside from excellent coordination with the heads of the various security agencies, he boosted the capacity of the institutions with the procurement of gadgets, vehicles, motorbikes and apparatuses to them that makes the Lagos State Security Trust Fund the envy of every state in Nigeria.
Lagos does not sleep, but its residents are free and safe moving round-the-clock. The entrepreneurial energy of the State, which is its allure to local and foreign investors, continues on the upsurge under Sanwo-Olu.
Last year, the State disbursed N10 billion under the W-Initiative for women empowerment and strengthened the Lagos State Employment Trust Scheme (LSETF) to tackle youth unemployment. These happened just when the governor had given commitment to getting the 32-metric tons per hour capacity Imota Integrated Rice Mill running on time to provide employment for 250,000 people.
This far, even though the tempo of events has shown that Governor Sanwo-Olu will continuously surpass his own record with every stride, has proven that Lagos State has entered an era of greatness.
However, his detour into the education sector with a loud bang qualifies as the most remarkable of his deft moves at addressing social challenges. With a vision to drive learning excellence in more than 500,000 pupils across 1016 primary schools using technology, Governor Sanwo-Olu's dexterity at long-range planning has come to serve Lagosians.
For development experts, the predictable outcomes of this revolutionary initiative christened EKO EXCEL (Excellence in Child Education and Learning), which has several links to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), are invigorating and reassuring. If EKO EXCEL is a fertile seed that will bring forth good fruit, building capacity in over 2,400 teachers from all the fifty-seven local councils is a deserved meal for an important audience.
This is a powerful step towards actualising the vision that "... that Lagos State Schools should be number one nationally and that our public schools must compete favourably with private schools". This signals that the journey to this distinct positioning of our educational system has begun, and primary schools' teachers are integral to the reforms designed to advance the quality of education at the foundation level.
Lagos is ready to take-on the world with the digitisation of basic schools' curriculum and deployment of modern techniques in teaching to maximise learning in all state-owned primary schools. Before this much attention on education, Lagos has enjoyed an impressive reputation as the land of digital nomads, who make defining contributions to several 'Silicon Valley' innovations that mesmerise the world.
I need not say that this impressive reputation has endeared our State to global technology and innovation leaders - an awe that has attracted Mark Zuckerberg to our jollof rice table, brought Bill Gates to our parties and made Jack Dorsey dance to our music.
The substantial resourcefulness dwelling in technology innovation centres across Lagos supports the expectation that Africa will be home to future technology and innovation leaders. However, life demands that we guide our expectations through determination and hardwork, otherwise they will remain in the realms of dreams.
Determined to own the expectation about Africa's digital future for Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu is championing EKO EXCEL. Hence, primary schools' pupils will be taught coding, they will also enjoy daily free meals, for the development of necessary skills for survival in tomorrow's world. These arrangements in Sanwo-Olu's Lagos are secured by generous commitment to teachers' welfare, signposted by the vehicle ownership scheme for head teachers.
Olusegun Fafore is executive assistant to Lagos State governor on new media and public relations.