by Lekan Fatodu

The conversation is still on as to whether or not people are born as leaders or they develop leadership abilities through their interactions with life.

Interestingly, Governor Sanwo-Olu has further strengthened this age-long debate on the account of his emergence as Governor of Lagos State and the records of his stewardship, so far, at the zenith of leadership in the State.

But whichever way leadership will be attributed to Sanwo-Olu, some unforgettable memories being curated at each passing day are reflecting that Sanwo-Olu is wittingly or unwittingly picking the appropriate robes for his date with posterity.

My initial encounter with Governor Sanwo-Olu, was in 2018, he was then an aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the governorship of Lagos. It was at the swanky Watercress Hotel, Ikeja, which became the potent networking ground for viable political connections and information resource, especially for the 2019 elections in the state.

I had gone to Watercress to further facilitate opportunities that will provide better headway for me as I was contesting the Lagos State House of Assembly election to represent Mushin Constituency 1 in the State Assembly in 2019.

While in the restaurant of the hotel having discussion with some friends, a loud voice suddenly pierced through our ears. “His Excellency is here! Sanwo Eko is here!”.  It was an APC adherent and a staunch lover of Sanwo-Olu right from the time Sanwo-Olu served as Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions in Lagos State, who enthusiastically announced the arrival of the APC governorship aspirant whose name had become more popular than his person in Lagos State.

Expectedly, his presence triggered instant curiosity and frenzied conversation amongst the politically inclined audience present at the hotel. Everyone swiftly abandoned their engagements and rose to catch a glimpse of the increasingly popular political figure who wanted to become the governor of Lagos State and who had already been making consultations on his manifestos and plans to reposition the state for greater value and gains.

Within a short while, Sanwo-Olu walked into the lobby of the hotel with a warm smile and kicked off immediately with everyone by introducing himself and his mission, while establishing mutual exchanges and inquiring about our convergence.

To many of us, our strong desire is to join hands with like minds to effectively engage the political system in Lagos State, with a view to developing a new tribe of players that will bring fresh ideas to governance and further unleash the potentialities of Lagos State.

Our experiences and exposure rightly put us in the right frame of mind to deliver on this journey. Interestingly, within few minutes of our interaction, he was able to capture our craving as he boldly asked if we believe the prosperity of this city lies in our hands.

Sanwo-Olu’s profound poser weaved in fabric for collective responsibility towards common good was an instant call for concerted efforts to create a better future for Lagos and its promising citizens.

He immediately made a strong impression of his good self and mission before the gathering such that he became the point of discussion for everyone long after he had completed his visit.
It is not unlikely that his compelling thoughts on unity of purpose and overriding gains of collaborative endeavours contributed to the origination of the popular slogan “Igbega Ipinle Eko, Ajumose gbogbo wa ni”, loosely interpreted “The prosperity of Lagos is our common endeavour’’.

Governor Sanwo-Olu has been a team player who believes that the quality of leadership and involvement of people of similar vision determine the destination of any society, and this much is attested to in the great quality of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and current government functionaries in Lagos State.

It is actually gratifying to note that ever since the leading interaction with Sanwo-Olu, the man has remarkably evolved. And he has sufficiently adapted into his position as Governor of Lagos State with the huge responsibility that the office demands, coupled with the unprecedented encumbrances such as the COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSars protest, which he has surprisingly taken on with uncommon equanimity.

Typical of most progressive-minded leaders, Sanwo-Olu has invested his mind in the lessons of the twin adversities and renewed his commitment towards building a city that will serve the aspirations and interests of all.

Like a compelling seminal work that has stimulated and provided an incredible path in the field of knowledge and around human existence, Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos is indeed a physical idea that is worth revisiting especially for the advancement of a society that is in dire need of proven inspirational figures and mentors.

The world is consistently being served with tons of uplifting stories through the popular TED Talks, which is considered as an “idea worth sharing”, we must therefore consider ourselves fortunate to have a real encounter with an idea that is shaping the destiny of Lagos State in the person of Governor Sanwo-Olu.

Governor Sanwo-Olu has shown to be an outstanding new generation leader through his humanity, humility and pro-people interventions and enviable approaches to governance.

Truly, there is no better time to emphasise on his remarkable attributes and the reward of his existence to the society than this amazing moment of celebration.

At 36, Sanwo-Olu was Special Adviser to the former Deputy Governor, Mr. Femi Pedro. At 46, he became the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension. As this man of inexpressible value turns 56 tomorrow, 25th June, 2021, in his capacity as the Governor of Lagos State, I join family, friends and well-wishers to wish him a happy birthday and a long life of greater impact and sustainability in Lagos and the world in general.

Lekan Fatodu is the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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