Tue. Mar 5th, 2024


In the past two months, I was twice privileged to meet the Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu one on one.

Prior to this, as a journalist, I had been intrigued by his display of classic leadership skills during the heady, dangerous days when Covid-19 raged.

I was so impressed by his unusual display of leadership and his forthright pronouncements as the Incident Commander of the impressive coalition against the pandemic.

This inspired me to work with others like Professor Hope Eghagha and the eggheads of Unilag Consultancy Services to undertake a comprehensive study of the Governor’s leadership style during the battle against the global killer and come up with a book titled Incident Commander: Leadership in Times of Crisis.

While the book project lasted, we deliberately decided not to meet him or let him know we were conducting research on his leadership style.

With the book concluded however, it was necessary to appraise him of our plans to publish the book and he was pleasantly shocked by our initiative. The aftermath demanded that I met him one-on-one twice and those two meetings and the months spent researching him have left a lasting impression on me.

First I came to see a grossly underestimated, self-effacing and unassuming leader. In the face of unprecedented challenges that have plagued our beloved city, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has emerged as a beacon of hope, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the progress and welfare of his people.

His exemplary leadership during the fight against Covid-19, his dedication to the development of Lagos, and his enduring spirit amidst trying times have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on our hearts.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic stands as a testament to his exceptional leadership skills and his commitment to the well-being of the people of Lagos.

He tackled the challenges head-on by swiftly implementing measures to contain the spread of the virus and protect the citizens. Under his guidance, Lagos became a model for an effective Covid-19 response in Nigeria.


One of the notable initiatives during the pandemic was the establishment of numerous Covid-19 isolation centers across the state.

These centers were equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to ensure that patients received the best possible care. Our research took us to the centres and only cynics would not be impressed by the facilities.

Additionally, Governor Sanwo-Olu collaborated with private sector organizations and individuals to provide essential medical supplies and equipment, such as ventilators and personal protective equipment, to healthcare workers on the frontline.

Furthermore, Governor Sanwo-Olu initiated the distribution of relief materials to vulnerable members of the society who were adversely impacted by the pandemic.

Through his administration’s efforts, food items and essential supplies were delivered directly to households, ensuring that no one was left behind in the face of economic hardships caused by lockdown measures.

To further highlight his commendable dedication, former Health Commissioner, Prof Akin Abayomi (now reappointed), shared awe-inspiring revelations of how Governor Sanwo-Olu fearlessly risked his own life while leading the battle against Covid-19.

Sanwo-olu and many other members of his team contracted Covid-19 several times, putting their dear lives at risk to keep the people safe.

His presence on the frontlines was not only symbolic but demonstrated his deep-rooted empathy and commitment to protecting the lives of his people. Such selfless acts remind us that we are truly blessed to have a leader who puts the greater good above all else.

One cannot ignore the remarkable work Governor Sanwo-Olu has done in response to the global pandemic. The book, Incident Commander, published to commemorate this leadership milestone, stands as a testament to his sterling efforts and tireless pursuit of victory over Covid-19. Throughout the crisis, his unalloyed concern for the health and wellbeing of the people of Lagos was glaring, a quality that resonated deeply with every citizen.

Digging deeper into the research for this book, it became evident that Governor Sanwo-Olu is not just a leader in name, but a leader in action. His workaholic nature and team-player attitude were greatly admired by his colleagues. Interviews with his team revealed an individual who consistently went above and beyond expectations, fully immersing himself in the battle against the virus to ensure the safety and security of every Lagosian.

In terms of development, Governor Sanwo-Olu has demonstrated a keen understanding of the infrastructure needs of Lagos and has taken significant steps to address them. One of the noteworthy projects is the on-going effort to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge, which will significantly alleviate traffic congestion and boost economic activities in the state.

Additionally, improvements to road networks, such as the rehabilitation and expansion of major highways, have been prioritized to enhance transportation efficiency.

The fact that the Blue Line rail service has finally become a reality also asterisks Sanwo-olu’s go-getter qualities and Lagos and its future would yet be happier for it.

The governor’s commitment to education is also evident through the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of education in Lagos.

These include the provision of free textbooks and learning materials to public schools, as well as the provision of scholarships and grants to deserving students.

Furthermore, Governor Sanwo-Olu has consistently emphasized the importance of digital literacy and has initiated programmes to enhance technological skills among students.

Moreover, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s focus on sustainable development can be seen in his efforts to promote a greener and cleaner Lagos.

The “Clean Lagos Initiative” is a prime example of his commitment to environmental sustainability. This initiative aims to improve waste management systems, promote recycling, and create a cleaner and healthier environment for all residents.

It is also worth mentioning Governor Sanwo-Olu’s dedication and resilience in the face of various challenges.

In October 2020, Lagos witnessed the initially peaceful #EndSARS protests, which later turned violent and resulted in widespread destruction by undesirable elements.

During this period, the governor displayed exemplary leadership by addressing the concerns of the protesters and taking immediate steps to restore peace and order in the state.

Indeed, it came to light that Governor Sanwo-Olu was deeply hurt by the attempt of some individuals to politicize the EndSars protests, which he initially supported.

He believed in the power of the voices of his people and their demands for justice and change. Regrettably, these genuine concerns were later hijacked by unpatriotic elements seeking to undermine the progress and unity of Lagos. Despite the setbacks faced during this period, Governor Sanwo-Olu never wavered in his determination to protect the interests of Lagosians.

Lagos State is fortunate to have Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the helm during these challenging times.

His leadership exemplifies resilience, vision, and an unwavering commitment to the progress of our beloved city. It is doubtless that under his capable stewardship Lagos will triumphantly make its rendezvous with destiny.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s good projects in Lagos have had a profound impact on the lives of its residents.

From his effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic to his commitment to infrastructure development, education, and sustainability, he has proven himself to be a visionary leader who prioritizes the progress and welfare of his people. Despite the numerous challenges faced, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s unwavering spirit and dedication have undoubtedly made him a beacon of hope for Lagos and its future.

We, the people of Lagos, must stand firmly behind this remarkable marathon runner, supporting him in his pursuit to elevate our state to greater heights. Let our voices blend together in unison, echoing our unwavering faith and trust in Governor Sanwo-Olu, as he ushers in a future filled with promise and prosperity for all.

Ojewusi, author of several books is the Co-Editor of Incident Commander, a book in honour of Governor Sanwo-Olu and the Publisher of The Lagosian Magazine www.thelagosianmagazine.com.ng.

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