Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, has pledged to include youth development, social inclusion, and gender equality in his development strategy during his second term.

His choice must have been influenced by his electioneering experience and the results of the general elections in 2023, where a sizable portion of young people in Lagos State supported the opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In the eyes of some of his supporters, Sanwo-Olu diligently carried out the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda during his first term, but the exclusion of women and young people nearly cost his party the election.

During his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, May 29, the governor listed changes the State has seen since he took office and highlighted that Lagos had lived up to its reputation as a center of excellence. He claimed that the State was the first sub-national to use its balance sheet to deliver an intra-city rail network to support mass transportation.

In the same way as the completion of Lekki Deep Seaport enhanced socioeconomic growth and transformed the State into a new logistics hub of West Africa, the governor claimed that this has furthered the State’s development track.

Lagos would become a major role in the continent’s food production chain as a result of his administration’s delivery of the largest rice mill to Imota, he claimed.

According to Sanwo-Olu, Lagos has continued on the path of sustenance and prosperity. He noted that because to his administration’s financial engineering, Fitch International has upgraded the State to AAA (nga) status in terms of financial sustainability and resilience, an achievement unheard of in the state’s history.

The governor listed additional noteworthy advancements in infrastructure development to improve the intermodal transportation system, healthcare services, education, the aesthetic environment, social interventions, and other areas across the development agenda of his administration in his list of accomplishments.

“We prepared the ground for transformative change in my first term,” he declared. From enhancing our infrastructure to guaranteeing adequate social services, from battling economic downturns to managing a global epidemic, we faced major obstacles. But we never gave up. Our tribulations served as our building blocks for resilience as our problems served as stepping stones.

Despite fulfilling some of his pledges, the governor said there would be much more to be accomplished in the coming days as his final term begins. He said the swearing-in offered him an opportunity to acknowledge expectations of the electorate, and to rededicate his administration towards meeting and surpassing the people’s expectations. Sanwo-Olu said his vision was beyond the provision of physical infrastructure and working to attain good economic indicators for the state. He said he would govern to make Lagos a beacon of cultural vibrancy, intellectual prowess, and humanistic values.

The governor broadened the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda of his government in his inaugural speech. He identified three more areas of focus, including social inclusion, gender equality, and youths, where the State Government would step its intervention over the following four years.

“That tradition of progressive governance, of enlightened leadership, has consistently produced fruit for us, and it has established Lagos as a model state,” said Sanwo-Olu. This day is an occasion to rejoice because we have lived up to our status as a Center of Excellence. In many ways, our folks still have higher expectations of us. Today is an opportunity for us to once again recommit to living up to and exceeding those expectations. As your governor, I promise to mobilize more energy for Lagos. I’ll put in endless effort to ensure that every Lagosian is happy and prosperous, and I’ll endeavor to create a Lagos that we can all be proud of.

“I am happy to report that we will advance our governing program in this, our second term, in keeping with our resolve. Its new name, “T.H.E.M.E.S. Plus,” denotes the incorporation of a stronger emphasis on social inclusion, gender equality, and youngsters. To ensure that no one falls behind due to their social rank, gender, or youth, we are bolstering and strengthening our governance agenda. All of our programs and policies will be created with the intention of accommodating and advancing everyone. Our solemn promise to you is this.

Sanwo-Olu said his second term would be more rewarding for the residents, as the state would witness consolidation of his reforms and governance at higher levels.
 
In the coming weeks, the governor promised to deliver another intra-city rail network, Red Line Rail, which is at the completion stage. Lagos will also be witnessing development of a new airport in Ibeju-Lekki, Deep Seaport in Badagry and Fourth Mainland Bridge in addition to other capital projects in the pipeline.
 

The task ahead, the governor said, would be a collective responsibility of the government and people, noting that he would always seek partnership with the citizens in line with his administration’s mantra.  He assured that his administration would continue to foster a culture of transparency, accountability and participatory governance.
 
“The greatness and strength of Lagos lie in the collective spirit of our people; whether those paying taxes, or those treating public property with care and respect, or those speaking up when they see something going wrong or someone breaking the law. For us as a government, I would be the first to acknowledge our own side of this social contract. I will not let you down,” the governor declared.
 
Sanwo-Olu eulogised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for laying the foundation for the development of Lagos, which, he said, made it easy for the succeeding administrations to strengthen transformational governance and keep the state on the path of progress.

He also thanked the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari for his kindness and support to Lagos, which enabled his administration to record many successes in the last four years.
 
Sanwo-Olu said he was ready to continue to offer transformational leadership to the state in collaboration with his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, whom he described as “loyal friend, partner-in-progress”. He promised Lagos would remain a city united by its diversity, while pledging to work till his last days in creating a better future for the citizens.
 
He said: “At this moment of our history, it has fallen upon me to steer the ship and to move us closer than ever to the ‘Greater Lagos of our dreams.’ Like I promised four years ago, the glitz of office will not change my personality and I will not try to become something I am not. I have strived to serve excellently, with humility, compassion, with a listening ear, bending where necessary to demonstrate that people’s welfare is at the centre of our actions.
 
“I am sending a reminder to Lagosians that this land belongs to all of us, and all of us who call it home must partake in its goodness. Regardless of what language we speak, or where we trace our ancestry to, or where in Lagos we live, or what religion we profess; regardless of age or gender or political party, and regardless of how long we have called this land home; we are all united by something deep and immutable, which is our aspirations to make tomorrow better than today for us and our children.”
 
Thousands of residents across the State, clad in colourful attires, defied the rains to witness the historic event held at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS). The inauguration was well attended by members of the corporate sector and diplomatic community.

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