Forty-five months after Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated members of the Executive Council to work with him and his deputy in piloting his administration’s development agenda, the cabinet wound down on Friday, flaunting a dossier of achievements, records and progress.
An aura of ecstasy permeated the cabinet chamber; Commissioners and cabinet-ranked Special Advisers, all clad in native white and yellow uniforms, joined the Governor and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, in valedictory executive council meeting.
For the last time as the team’s chairman, the Governor superintended the last cabinet meeting of his first term, sharing interesting moments with the members.
In an emotion-laden speech, Sanwo-Olu thanked the appointees for their services to Lagos and for stabilising his administration to implement its planned socio-economic reforms through the THEMES agenda.
The Governor said the journey, in the last four years, was not without challenging moments. He said the cabinet had sessions that reflected and took far-reaching decisions in clear understanding of his administration’s vision, pointing out that the outcomes largely impacted the people and the State economy positively.
Sanwo-Olu said every decision was adopted by the cabinet in exercising the mandate of the electorate, saying the welfare of the people was at the heart of decisions implemented by his administration.
He said: “I have had an interesting experience with all of you in almost four years. It is appropriate to say that, on behalf of Deputy Governor, it has been a worthy experience and time with you, serving Lagosians in difficult circumstances with difficult decisions we needed to make. We have brought a lot of energy, strength and compassion, ensuring that the greatest good is for the greatest number and ensuring that we can bring about prosperity, economic development and growth in the state.
“Almost all members of the cabinet team that started with us in 2019 are still here at the final meeting and I can imagine how this has helped us to stabilise. We have all had our fair share in understanding what it takes to run Lagos. We have had sessions that reflected clear business decisions with clear understanding of what our vision is all about. We have done our best in the administration of the State, knowing fully well that it is the people that gave us this mandate and all our decisions have been people-centric.”
Sanwo-Olu passed a vote of confidence in the outgoing cabinet members, saying the executive council offered its best service to Lagos in period of challenges.
The governor said despite the negative impact the state economy experienced during the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the destruction of public properties that followed #EndSARS protests, Lagos came out, bigger, stronger and better because of the strong will of the cabinet.
The state, the Governor said, continued to record many record-breaking feats with a lot of positive trajectories. Sanwo-Olu said Lagos’ finances and budget grew in numbers under the executive council, which, he said, was indicative of how well the cabinet laboured to implement all pillars of his Government’s economic agenda.
He said: “On behalf of Mr. Deputy, we congratulate ourselves and we are hoping we are landing well. You have all laboured extensively for this State; you have believed in our leadership and supported this government with every intellect and physical ability you possess. Lagosians know too well that this cabinet has served them well. The public service also knows they have great leaders in virtually all of you. Lagos still remains the sub-national that pays highest salaries to the civil servants apart from the federal government.
“We have the largest number of public servants as sub-national, yet we did not lay off workers during the most challenging period of COVID-19 pandemic. We had to be creative and think out of the box to design processes that ensured governance continued. It has been an honour to be your chairman, leader and captain of this ship. I hope that our journey hasn’t been too bumpy. I believe every moment counts and we have all enjoyed our relationship. But in all of it, we have all learnt, grown and achieved together. We can indeed say that we have paddled the ship of the State very well. From the depth of my heart, I thank all of you for your service.”
Sanwo-Olu and his deputy will be sworn in on Monday for their second term in office. The governor will be constituting a new cabinet that will advance his government’s economic agenda, social programmes and policies.