Sanwo-Olu and the road to Lagos house
By Dayo Israel
*“Dayo”, said BOSanwoolu. “Where are you. I have been calling you since yesterday and Sam (Egube), has been calling you too”. I am sorry sir, I responded*, but I am in Golden Gate Ikoyi now, I can meet you anywhere sir. Please head to … room 719, the others are waiting for you.
I quickly finished my Malt and Groundnut and hurried to the location. *In the room was Bukky (Now General Counsel to MG), standing in front of a wooden wall, filled with stickers with inscriptions categorized by the issues affecting Lagos, and next to her was Muyiwa Duro-Emanuel, speaking very good English. On the table was Moji Rhodes (First Female Deputy Chief of Staff in Lagos), Solape Hammond (now SA SDG and Investment), and Sam Egube (Now HC Budget and Economic Planning). We were later joined by Wasiu Jimoh and Kunmi Adio Moses.* We ended the day with a platter of Jollof rice and ATLANTIC WAVE (Fish), as it was called. What a memory, but it was the beginning of many long day and night, which has not ended.
It was early morning around September 14, 2018, BOS had just left the room in the company of Gboyega Soyannwo (now DCOS), Michael, Bimbo, and others. *Our mandate was simple, analyze the situation of Lagos in it’s entirety, propose Low hanging fruit, that is short-term answers, medium and long term solution for the government to adopt. This was more than a draft manifesto – an action plan to the details, specifics*. All those things you see being done today. *BOS was determined to it the ground running from Day 0. And on day 1, his intention was to sign various executive orders that will bring changes to Lagos for good (which he did).*
On the other side of town, *hundreds of Politicians were going in and out of Watercrest hotel, located off Allen Avenue. That was the de facto campaign office, way before Oduduwa office was born*. People were there 24 hours, I usually joined at night, after leaving the other team in the evening, until, ofcourse, when we started holding sessions till 1:00 am.
*BOS had not even gotten the ticket, the primaries had not been done, but he was ready for Lagos.* Ready to win both the primaries and general election by Faith and hit the ground running on day 1. *People wonder why I am totally committed to this dream because I know the type of preparation that went into this project, the clarity of purpose and the political will of the Men at the front to fulfill it – BOS-KOH.*
By November I believe, things had gone way bigger, *Watercrest had moved to Oduduwa, a much larger facility visited by thousands daily. The Strategy team has not only moved from room 719 to Sapphire, Onyx, Opal; we had also increased in numbers and joined by Mr. Bamgbose Martins (Now HC Special Duties), Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, Biodun Ogunleye, Dr Fred Oladehinde (Now HC Transport), and Mr. Olalere Odusote (Now HC Energy), and later my egbon, Ayo Gbeleyi.*
While Director-General of the campaign, Tayo Ayinde, was leading the battalions in Oduduwa, where I was also a member of the Mobilisation Directorate (under Alhaji Enilolobo), and Youth and Student sub-committee, as well as support my friend Fouad on the Youth Directorate, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat and Oga Sam kept us busy on the other end preparing and reviewing documents, receiving presentations and making notes*, from 8:00 am to 1: 00 am most times, yes 1:00 am the next day, ofcourse with plenty of small chops to keep us going, oh and yea buffet lunch. Dr. Hamzat will sit in and listen, standing up in between to receive phone calls, transforming Lagos was going to be a serious business. Talking about the lunch, as the man in charge of welfare, I kept the lunch ticket, if you were not nice to me during the session, you didn’t get one, lol. But all of them are super nice people. Funny how I now also play a similar role for my colleagues on the board of Lagos State Universal Education Board (SUBEB).
Oduduwa was the happening place. Of course, there was also Awolowo, Maryland, and Acme, I was there too. The crowd at Oduduwa was where it was happening the most – both politicians and non- politicians thronged the BOS Mecca. Hundreds were declaring their support for BOS day by day. Posters, Banners, Shirts, Caps were brought as souvenirs and even buses brought in and went out to all the various support groups to ease their jobs.
The rich and poor, aged and young all thronged there because we shared the dreams and aspirations of BOS/KOH for a Greater Lagos. Meetings upon meetings, mostly moderated by Sesan Daini and Tunde Abodunrin, Chaired by DG Tayo Ayinde and Baba Eto, Cardinal James Odunbaku.
*You wonder where BOS was ?: EVERYWHERE. That man is the real Indaboski, Pahooze. The liquid metal, the fire. Oh my, he can work,* but ofcourse now you can see for yourself. He has continued to show the stuff he is made off.
The BOS/KOH victory was not a walk in the park, *it was a result of the concerted effort of every Lagosian,* irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity or profession.
*From the Khadijat, who sold Indomie at the gate of Oduduwa for those who couldn’t eat the food served by the ICG (at least a cow a day was killed to feed supporters), to the Olusola/Sherrif that managed the front office in Awolowo, the plenty Omoga and Peter who supported the DG in Oduduwa carrying bags and materials, and the Titi Oshodi’, Funke Tega, Yewande Cole, Oseyemi, Fafore, Lekan Fatodun, Akosile, Biggy, Alani, BIQ, Dapo Awofisayo (Armoury), Seye, Bimbo, Michael, Otunba Osifeso, Gbolahan, Olumide, Funke, Morinsola, Seun Olowu, Ajigbotafe Ajidebutu, Seedorf, Olafusi, Remi Durojaiye, Dipo Finland, Hafiz Kasunmu, Tunde Rufai, Froggy, Gani, LAHA Aspirant led by Ladi Balogun (now MD LAGFERRY), Erelu Gbemisola, Owolabi JIYSM, Bukky Bada, Doyin Agba, Hon. Toke Benson, Princess Adebowale, Mr. Segun Dawodu who was then SA Political, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, the Student groups from across campus, Lagos State Council of Tradesmen and Artisans (LASCOTA), labour associations and thousands of others that cannot be mentioned here but are recognized.
Also at the heart of that movement were the various Chief Executive in their Local Government led by Mama Essien, the various loyalist of our party who moved the party structure at the local government level to mobilize voters; and the men who protected our symbol, from the bouncers Saheed, Abbey, Ifeanyi, Dickson to the armed men who took over Olusegun Ogundipe, Daniel Ifayanmodi, and Saheed Akanji, Lateef, Eko, Alausa, Adu Biggy, Jibola, Menshack, Femi Ale, Istifanus, Agoro, Biola – everyone played a role.
Our collective efforts are not in vain, together we have set Lagos on a path of Greatness.
Today, as Gov Sanwoolu celebrates his first year in office, it is important that we reminisce on the journey that led us here, and the people God used to play a role in that journey. And when I see any one of them, I stand on my feet to pay my respect. *It was the reason why on my last trip to England, for a Global Summit, I facilitated, to the Glory of God the participation of some youthful BOS supporters including Khadijat who sold indomie at the campaign office gate, and one of the ward chairman in my Local Government, Ola Sheu.* I did the same last year too, as my own little way of encouraging young people who played a role in the BOS election.
And you all will agree with me, *he has not disappointed us, the task may not be easy, we may not be where we want to be, but we are not where we used to be* and with his hands on the wheel, God will use him to take Lagos to a greater height.
*Mr Governor sir, the sincerity of your heart and your commitment to Lagos has won you many followers, including myself* – I want to say a big thank you, for that phone call, and the *opportunity to serve my state on the board of SUBEB, under the leadership of the then Deputy DG for my Senatorial District – Hon Wahab Alawiye King; and alongside my colleagues on the board, who also worked for our party and your victory- Sijuade Tiamiyu, Ibikunle Saheed, Bayo Adefuye, Hakeem Shittu, SHERIFAT Sanusi Adedoyin.*
Since resuming office, *we have launched Eko Excel to digital use teaching and learning, began the construction/refurbishment of some of our schools, trained and built the capacity of our teachers, strengthened the capacity of our quality assurance officials, began the recruitment of 2000 teachers, commenced the overdue conversion of hundreds of non-teaching staff to teaching staff*, implemented the homegrown school feeding program, strengthened the effectiveness of our SBMC, improves our budget performance and more, under the able leadership of our passionate chairman.
As a permanent board member for Basic Education Quality assurance, my first action was to attract external support for our schools leading to the donation of a brand new bus to the inclusive unit of St Francis Pry School; and refurbishment work at the Oregun Boys Home by Rev Mother Esther Ajayi. With the support of my chairman and the board, I also began the rapid implementation of our Quality Assurance action plan and outstanding programs including SMASE, TPD, and CQA. Daily Monitoring and Riverine monitoring is also effectively conducted. We are looking forward to the digitalization of our QA tools soonest.
*MG LAG, We (our board) will not disappoint you in restoring the Glory of our basic education sector, as we know you will also not disappoint Lagosians. I am sure all my colleagues who are now in the Cabinet will also continue to play their part in actual Isong this vision of a Greater Lagos*.
Please keep being you, a loving, focused, pragmatic, and impactful Leader.
Toast to the many more victories to come.
*Erinjogunola Dayo Israel*
Permanent Board Member LAGOS SUBEB
BOS STRATEGY TEAM
APC Mobilisation Directorate – 2019 election
ICG Mobilisation Directorate – 2019 Election
Presidential Support Group Maryland – 2019 election
Sub -Committee on Youth and Student Mobilisation – 2019 Election
LAHA ASpirant Network – 2019 Election
Leader – Sanwoolu Vanguard, Lagos Mainland
Vice Central Coordinator – BOS ICG Footsoldier Lagos Mainland
Above all, a believer in a Greater Lagos.
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