Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), the previous ground where the British Union Jack was lowered fifty eight (58) years ago for the Nigeria flag to swear in the first Prime Minister of the great country witnessed a similar event on May 29, 2019 as Lagosian sworn-in their 15th governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.
As in previous editions to mark the return to democracy for 1999, Lagosian turned out enmass to TBS which wore alluring decoration to mark the official swearing in of the sixth elected Governor of the State and his deputy.
The venue wore every look of an inauguration stating from traffic diversions as Lagosians who had no business at that event were warned days ahead to steer clear of that perimeter.
By midnight of May 28, security forces had deployed at strategic positions in and around the TBS while traffic officials for LASTMA, FRSC and other outfits ensured that in and out routes to TBS were condoned off to allow only those with invitations to the event.
As early as 8a.m security men had started battling with inflows inside the TBS for the event slated for 10a.m.
Interestingly the two people to be sworn in had been posing to the push view as a duo that will be inseparable. Then public announcements portrayed two team players hence Lagosians came to see these two energetic and brilliant successors to Akinwunmi Ambode.
Obas, Chiefs, Imams, Clerics, Community leaders, politicians, captains of industries, diplomats, civil servants, union leaders etc. assembled for the event.
The colourful atmosphere at TBS was adorned with costumes, music and excitement. Supporters of APC different campaign groups for Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat, various market groups and transport unions wore costumes which radiated solidarity.
The V.I.P stand was a beehive of activity as many dignitaries straggled to gain vantage positions. The mini VIP stand with a capacity for about one thousand (1,000) dignitaries was filled to the brim.
The inauguration spot housed a superb canopy ostensibly a precaution against rainfall. Red carpets adorned the stage, music blarred from giant loudspeaker round the square while the Lagos Council for Arts and Culture provided other forms of cultural displays to entertain the audience.
Trust Lagos State every security attention was taken. Aerial surveillance by helicopters, naval patrol anti terminal checks, bomb experts screening etc. had been carried out to ensure maximum safety, men and women of the Special Squads provided by the police, military DSS etc. were present.
The arrivals of dignitaries began as protocol demands. The Chief Judge of Lagos State Mrs. Opeyemi Oke, the Speaker of the House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Mudasiru Obasa, the outgoing deputy governor of the State Dr. (Mrs.) Idiat Adebule had taken their positions when the new Deputy Governor, Dr. Hamzat arrived with his nuclear family-arrived almost simultaneously with the new Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu who arrived at 10a.m
The TBS exploded with applause and thunderous welcome cheers and songs. It was a display of acceptance by Lagosians at the venue.
All eyes immediately shifted to the inauguration box where outgoing govern Akinwunmi Ambode was absent, so also the national leader of the APC Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Lagosians were later told that Ambode explained that he did not want to share the glory of the moment with the man it belongs to – Sanwo-Olu; hence, he did the handover ceremony the previous day to allow Sanwolu-Olu enjoy the limelight.
However, Asiwaju Tinubu was said to have travelled to Abuja to join President Buharis inauguration team. He (Tinubu) was represent by his amiable wife, the beautiful politicians, Senator Remi Tinubu.
The organisers of the TBS inauguration adjusted the programme having observed that the handover ceremony had been done the previous day so the event was fast tracked as the Chief Judge of the State, Mrs. Oke in the presence of the Speaker of the House of Assembly and other legislators and eminent persons administered the oath of office first to the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hamzat amidst great applause.
When it came to the turn of Sanwo-Olu the crowd gave him a rousing ovation, then he proceeded to inspect the guard of honour mounted for him and his deputy by the police, paramilitary forces and school children.
In a state open jeep with the coat of arms, he rode through the ranks and files to inspect the guards of honour.
After this ride, he came back to the state box to present his beautiful address to the mega city state.
In his opening speech the governor gave thanks to Almighty God and the electorates for making him become the state governor. After extoling the virtues of Lagos, Sanwo-Olu encourage all Lagosians to focus their attention on achieving a greater height.
He stated that with great resolve from all and sundry, the Lagos of the people’s dream is achievable. He acknowledged Ahmed Bola Tinubu for setting the pace for development in Lagos and thanked his successors for continuity of good governance in the state. While speaking, the governor said he would work to expand developmental projects; “…It will be my job to continue that process by refining and perfecting the foundation laid by the preceding administrations.”
In a plan to build the ideal Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu unfolds a six pillar scheme, “… and to do so, we have formulated a concise framework that encapsulates our collective vision for the state and ensures that our communication remains clear as we endeavour to build a greater Lagos we can all be proud to call home. The framework, as our six pillars of development agenda, is captured by the acronym, T.H.E.M.E.S, which I will briefly talk about…”
According the governor, T stands for traffic management and transportation; E stands for education and technology; M stands for making Lagos a 21st century economy; E stands for entertainment and tourism; and S stands for security and governance. He enjoined indigenes and migrants to join hands in achieving these lofty set of goals. “The Babajide Sanwo-Olu you see today shall not change and try to become something I am not. My prayer is only that I grow and improve as your Governor to implement good policies and bring the prosperity you deserve. On this day, I speak to the young and the old, Christian and Muslim, those who trace their earliest ancestry back to this land, and those who came last week. I speak to the poor and the rich, I speak to the Danfo driver as much as to the millionaire, to the fruit vendor and as much as to the real estate titan. I speak to employer and employee, I speak to teacher and student, I speak to mother and father. The civil service as well as the private sector- we are all Lagosians.”
The governor affirmed. The governor spoke energetically about the agenda set by the duo of himself and his deputy Dr. Obafemi Hamzat. “Our ultimate goal would be to ensure that Lagos state remains one of the top destinations on the African continent to live, work and invest in. These six (6) Pillars of Development represent our response to the yearnings of the people. They constitute the foundations that must be restored for future generations. And should we fulfil our promise and deliver on these pillars, we are most confident that we will have succeeded in setting Lagos on a new trajectory of economic growth and development that would be unprecedented in our entire history.” Sanwo-Olu promised.
The leader of the All Progressive Congress who was absent at the event was represented by his gorgeous wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu. The leader was said to attend the presidential inauguration at Abuja. Also not in attendance was the immediate past governor of the state Akinwumi Ambode, unconfirmed source said the erstwhile governor had handed over to the incumbent the previous day so that the new governor can enjoy the spotlight alone on the inauguration day