“The Sanwo-Olu Lagos Plan”
Lagos is the commercial nerve-centre of Nigeria. Fresh from the John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard, True Nigerian Experiencesat with its Governor-Elect, Mr. Sanwo-Olu to gain insight into key thrusts of his administration as he prepares to take office.
Q: We are honored to have you on board being the next Chief Executive of Nigeria’s business capital. What excites you the most as you take office as Governor of Lagos State?
A: Victory at an election is exciting. So, being Lagos State Governor could spark some sort of excitement, but you see beyond that, the urgent need for us is to understand and meet the needs of companies, and people you have identified is the immediate task at hand. Lagos is a city that should compete favorably with other major cities in the world in terms of infrastructure and social welfare programmes. I am excited that this is our destination. And I am saying to myself that I have come this far, believing that I certainly have the required skills, I have the right temperament, and I have relevant previous experience to be able to champion the next leap of development in the state.
Q: Looking at the next four years, with you on board as the Governor,what are your plans to build a Lagos Mega City we will be proud of?
A: Well, the next four years will itself present challenges, but also opportunities. As for the status of the mega city that we find ourselves in Lagos, it has all the potentials to be greater than what it is right now, but it also has huge challenges that we need to fix for us to be able to turn those challenges to opportunities and it’s only when those challenges have been dealt with largely that the companies that you have asked questions or you want to ask questions will be able to create wealth,do well and give the desired returns on investments, and Lagos will continue to remain as not only a safe haven but an haven of choice, where people can truly do good business and make good money.
Q: Lagos is to Nigeria what New York is to the United States and what the Shanghaiis to China. What are you going to do to bring Lagos closer in terms of strategies so Lagos could also be described in the same context as Shanghai and New York?
A: There are issues around global competitiveness, ease of doing business; and why would an investor choose to come to Lagos and not Tokyo or Shanghai or New York like you said. It is only when we begin to think global and act local, what are the competitive advantages that Lagos could leverage or known for, that will make businesses strive and thrive well. We must come up with a plan where people can safely come here and see all of the things they need to have to do business well that is working for them.
Q: Lagos is acclaimed to be the 5th biggest economy in Africa by GDP. how do you intend to ride on what Lagos is today, to what it could become in the Sanwo-Olu years?
A: We must dream big, have ideas that are audacious and be able to have audacity of hope, but at the end of the day we must let those nice indices that you have reeled-out; being the 5th largest economy, being the largest economy in Nigeria translate to wealth creation for our people, take our people out of abject poverty, reduce the poorest of the poor amongst us, and create an environment where like I said before; people can do very well, because what we are all about is not only just creating opportunities for people, but also ensuring that consistently the quality of life is better.