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Why I am voting Babajide Sanwo-olu on Saturday – Dr Kester Osahenye

Like I told my friends I am not a card-carrying member of any political party, but I know why I have been tarciturn since the Presidential election, I don’t know why some minions and cronies of some political parties unleashed violence on innocent electorates.

I am optimistic that the Governorship election will be peaceful, I am also hopeful that the right candidates will be elected Governors.

With hindsight, I don’t just take decisions without introspective analysis, the underlying drive for me to vote on Saturday is to vote a competent Governor.
Do you want to know why I am voting Sanwo-Olu?

I was surprised when Akinwumi Ambode lost the APC gubernatorial primaries to Sanwo-Olu, when that political heat reached a crescendo, Ambode called Sanwo-Olu different unprintable names, opposition nitpicked that decision, they saw him as a stooge of the “political dynasty and godfather” of Lagos State. There was a social media troll on his personality. It was a vulnerable situation for any politician, or personality brands, because social media is public-facing, everyone will be able to see and consider the criticisms, but more importantly, they’ll be watching to see how you will respond. The type of response you give will have a significant impact on how the electorates perceive you, or how the rest of the situation plays out—you may choose to appease your critics to relieve tension, or escalate things to become worse if you aren’t careful.

Sanwo-Olu didn’t deploy self-deprecatory reply, this is what some politicians will do, because they believe it exemplifies humility and servitude. They erroneously believe you’re willing and unafraid to admit some of your own flaws for the purposes of eliciting empathy from others, showing both your humanity and your self-confidence at the same time.

But no, Sanwo-Olu decided to use a well planned media strategy, podcast, webinars and village meetings to refute all the allegations, he was not aggressive, he didn’t escalate the situation, instead he dismantled them one after the other. For example, one his followers on Twitter said to him after the election, you will become unreachable, Sanwo-Olu gave him his four-pronged approaches to reach Lagosians and get interactive replies, he acknowledged the possibility for mistakes during every cycle of governance, but promised to be a leader that will listen to everyone with developmental interests/ ideas, he promised to listen to critics, he also promised to incorporate the best template for mid-year and annual performance appraisals for his Commissioners.

I recently met with Sanwo-Olu, I asked him lots of questions, I was critical of the party he is flying their guber flag. He typed everything I asked him on his smartphone, he was calm, he was friendly, I met him twice at different events, but this time I excused him for a long chat, we talked about taxation, security, land reclamation, toll gates, to the intractable Lagos traffic, transportation, flooding, ICT development and road constructions, he was attentive, gregarious and his mien was avuncular.

The biggest surprise for me, he requested for my business card, I told him “Sir, I know a few people in government, but I don’t chase them because they may not reply messages or pick calls, I should rather discuss ideas with you than chasing you or calling you for nothing Sir”, he promised to text me later that night. He texted me and replied my text messages. He used my Smartphone to take a selfie, he jocularly said “post this picture after the Governorship election, I know I am going to win”, we both laughed, hugged and waved him goodbye.

This man was the Managing Director/CEO of Lagos State Property Development Commission (LSPDC). He was a banker, he served in Bola Tinubu and Fashola’s government. Sanwo-olu was the acting Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, he later became the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, he was the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions. The infographics (Copyright The Nation Newspaper) on this writing will help you know his pedigree, this is why I’m voting him on Saturday.

Recently, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, held consultations with Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode; Minister of Power, Works & Infrastructures, Babatunde Raji Fashola; and Sanwo-Olu, he marshalled out his plans for a greater Lagos State, I pray and hope he fulfils his promises to Lagosians. We are all watching, after 4 years Lagosians will know who truly worked and who was “sleeping Governor”. I have so much confidence in the pedigree, professionalism, astuteness, leadership, ingenuity and versatility of Sanwo-Olu, friends join me on Saturday to vote an ebullient professional who will take Lagos to the next stage of its development.

Like the sage Nelson Mandela said “It is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership”, this quote typified the personality of Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2017, the Dutch Writer Christine Otten said something that helped me know the leadership that underpinned human feelings and touches on the heart of the people. She said “true leadership must traverse every facet of life, with positive impacts, it must have a top-down thinking that places the citizens at the core of all programmes”. Sanwo-Olu exude strenght, intelligence and compassion, a rare combination indeed, I’m hopeful he will make a great Governor this is why I’m voting for him on Saturday.
#VotingSanwo-Olu #LagosGuber

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