Real reasons Lagos State is leading are many as seen in her sustaining democratic journey since 1999. Lagos maintains its exponential development and growth.
The State showcases its secrets for being the forerunner in the country wherein other States have copied her template to run theirs.
Albeit critics are quick in attributing the developmental strides of Lagos and its mega city status to the high population and high revenue; being the commercial nerve centre of the country.
The miss, however, is in understanding the leadership concept on which Lagos prides itself and which stands the state out in the country
The argument often is, anyone, no matter how incompetent and ill-equipped for leadership, can govern Lagos state.
This kind of thought defies common sense and is antithetical to every principle of corporate governance and leadership known.
In recent years, supporters of political neophytes, have been trumpeting these sorts of views in one form or the other. These spurious views are concocted to confuse the people of Lagos and their ability to choose true representatives.
In reality, the choice of progressive leaders, experienced, and qualified like Senator Bola Tinubu, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, as well as the current governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu by Lagosians have been the real coup de maître.
Statistically and historically, no city flourishes just because many people accidentally converge in one place.
If anything, a high population like the one we have in Lagos State can be a serious disadvantage in the absence of strategic and intentional leadership.
This is because, untapped, explosive population growth places a heavy burden on social infrastructure and could overrun the healthcare systems, cause deterioration in public education; as well as lead to shortages in housing, water supply, sanitation, power, and roads among several other social amenities.
Many states and even countries would break from pressure if faced with one-tenth of the enormous population challenges Lagos State has had to deal with over the years regardless of huge revenue,
Another reason Lagos leads is her ability to cater to the health, security, and well-being of other citizens who are not in her tax net.
To assume that every Lagosian and visitor contributes to the revenue base of Lagos State is simply incorrect. The government does take into cognizance those who are indigent and vulnerable and has a safety nest for those whose population is daily growing.
Furthermore, it is imperative to note that until 2016, Lagos was not an oil-producing State. Compared to States like Rivers, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, and Bayelsa which have been under the control of the opposition party. Nonetheless, Its revenue from oil is minimal.
The traditional oil States despite huge revenues cannot boast of the corresponding infrastructural development as Lagos’ at least the kind Lagos State is reputed for. One can only imagine the expectations from Lagos if she had that massive advantage.
It is indeed a lazy man’s analysis to point at the revenues generated in Lagos State without first taking into account the enormous work done to create and sustain these revenues.
The forward leaps in terms of revenues have only happened because of the economic mastery and strategy, vision, and continuous striving for excellence by committed leadership.
What has worked for Lagos State in the sustainable democracy, has been the can-do and undaunted spirit of Lagos leaders.
These past leaders have accepted that the city, which is home to over 25 million people, one of the choicest travel destinations in the world, and 5th largest economy in Africa is not a state of mediocre and should not be so led.
Take the first democratic governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for instance; who met Lagos with a meager N600m monthly Internally Generated Revenues, IGRs, in 1999, and with all that the state faced from the federal government stifling it of running cost, the State emerged the best successfully ran by then, Governor Tinubu.
Tinubu, the only Governor who survived the political tsunami engineered by the then-ruling People’s Democratic Party leader, President Olusegun Obasanjo, had to strategize like a sovereign state.
Strengthened by sufficient state political backing, the then Governor established a technocratic enclave within the state bureaucracy that helped to professionalize the administration of business tax collection and bring both the formal and informal sectors into the tax net.
Not only did Lagos State rise above that grave period, but the government also was able to fund her children’s education, improved public healthcare, built roads, and not owe workers. All done with income generated within the state.
In fact, the tax mobilization formula and other policies deployed by Tinubu as a Governor are what the Federal Government and many states have adopted in their efforts to revamp other conditions and the nation’s economy.
Every successor of Tinubu since 2007 has not rested on the laurels of their predecessors. From Mr. Babatunde Fashola to the present, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has gone ahead to enlarge the largesse of Lagos to its enviable record.
All successive leaders, especially Babajide Sanwoolu, continue to maintain the formidable leadership skills and intentional policies built and laid down and which have continued to make Lagos the go-to place for matchless economic opportunities, human development and the destination to grow wealth.
So, no. Lagos’ achievements are by accident. The achievements are strategic, intentional, and well-groomed.
Lagosians must refuse any narrative that projects her leaders as thoughtless, by “anywhere belle face people”.
Leadership in Lagos State is a magic wand. Over the years, the People of the State have chosen the bests and that is one of the real reasons they cannot afford to derail in voting for any untested mediocre. It is time to vote for Babajide Sanwo-Olu again!