Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Saturday charged all Nigerians to take responsibility as the nation joins the global community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking as a Guest Speaker at the Virtual edition of the Lagos Leadership Conference, themed: “Leading in Extraordinary Times”, which was broadcast via Plus TV Africa, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the firm realisation that Lagos is the Nigerian epicentre of the pandemic, and that the whole of country is looking up to the State for leadership and for accomplishment, has been a driving force for his administration’s response to pandemic.
He said: “COVID-19 pandemic is global and all of us have a role to play. Everybody has a role to play. It is only when everybody plays that role that we can put this pandemic behind us very quickly. As a government, we will continue to lead that conversation.
“We should continue to have various levels of engagement and various levels of communication. Everybody must be seen taking responsibility at this stage. We are fully out there and what is just remaining for us is just to keep this momentum and we believe that we will come out of it stronger and better.
“I will ask each and every one of us to take full responsibility, especially for our loved ones and ourselves. When we are going out, let us ensure we continue to obey the protocols. Let us wear our facemasks. Let us ensure we keep social distance or physical distancing and continue to listen to our health practitioners and the advice they give us.
“If you have any symptoms, do not wait until when it becomes very severe; get yourself a test, get yourself into one of our isolation centers and we can assure you that, you will be treated well and you will get well at the end of the day,”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also assured Lagos residents that the State Government will ensure that all secondary and primary health facilities in the state become a topnotch and available for citizens of the state, adding that his administration will ensure that the lessons of COVID-19 are not lost.
He said: “As a government, we will stop at nothing to ensure that; one, we scale up our infrastructural capability. We are doing that and we will continue to do that, even post-COVID to ensure that all our secondary and primary health facilities become a topnotch and available for our citizens to have access.
“We will ensure that the lesson and the learning beyond COVID-19 are not lost on us as a leader and as a government. We will use the experiences and the issues that have come out of it to better prepare and plan for our citizens and be able to carry out people better going forward.”
Highlighting some of the steps taken by his administration to address the pandemic, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state government took proactive, agile and informed decision-making, as well as priotising the consistent and transparent communication in managing COVID-19 in Lagos State.
His words: “Without our hardworking, talented and committed people, the situation would be a lot worse. And by our People I mean our frontline health workers, support staff, law enforcement agencies, and the civil and public service.
At the top of the chain is a ‘War Room’ cabinet – a small team which I lead which liaises with several parts of Government. It is able to speedily process information, and make high-quality decisions.
Very importantly also, this War Room cabinet is able to review its decision-making and amend it where necessary.
Let me add that a big part of managing people is motivating them, and I have made this a priority.
For example, we increased Hazard Allowance by 400 per cent, and introduced a special COVID-19 Allowance, Accommodation and Welfare for frontline workers.
“As a leader, your organisation is only as successful as the quality of the decisions you are making or approving for it.
we realised early the need to ensure that our decision-making was strongly informed by data modelling. And that is what we have continued doing, as we seek to strike a difficult but necessary balance between protecting lives and sustaining livelihoods; balancing health and economics.
“I have taken it as a personal responsibility to champion the Mask Up Lagos campaign. I have been a very visible adopter of online meetings. We switched to Virtual Cabinet Meetings here in Lagos even before the UK did.
Even when you watch our regular press briefing, one thing that stands out is the amount of effort that has gone into physical distancing, because optics are very important too.
I want people to do not just as I’m saying but also as I’m doing.
“It is very important to empower team members along their lines of expertise and allow them to take ownership of the activities required of them. Humility on the part of a leader is very critical.”