BY FUNKE PHILLIPS
On November 4, 2018, Babajide Sanwo-Olu officially announced Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, a former Lagos Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, and earlier contender for the All Progressive Congress Lagos ticket, as his running mate for the 2019 Lagos Gubernatorial elections. The announcement birthed a strategic dream team equipped to usher Lagos into a new dispensation worthy of its title as the Centre of Excellence.
A competent, visionary and skilled pilot is the first order requirement for a successful journey but the importance of a co-pilot that has keyed into the vision and is equally competent is the second order requirement for an even more successful and comfortable journey. This is what the dream team promises for Lagos after winning the elections in 2019.
In stepping down for Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat demonstrated his confidence in Sanwo-Olu’s ability to lead Lagos to the next level as well as showed himself as a worthy team player. A co-pilot has to believe totally in the pilot’s capability in steering the vessel right and Dr. Femi Obafemi Hamzat proved that belief when he decided to hoist his flag on the Sanwo-Olu ship.
In his statement while stepping down, he said: “Having been part and parcel of the formulation and execution of various policies and programmes that transformed Lagos right from former governors Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola’s administrations, I strongly believe that Sanwo-Olu is equally rooted to fly our party’s flag in the 2019 elections.
There is beauty in a concerted effort put forth by the right pair. This is why a synchronised swimming duet is always an absolute delight to watch. This beauty is brought to the fore in the combination of Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat; The Lagos 2019 Dream Team.
Lagos is at a very important place in its history. 19 years of consistent leadership has allowed the implementation of a coordinated growth and development plan that beyond states, only a few countries can boast of. The next level of the plan involves a strategic combination of science, technology and a keen understanding of governance to reach set out goals of prosperity and development for Lagos.
53 years old, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has fulfilled the first order requirement and has emerged as the chosen pilot by winning the APC’s Lagos Gubernatorial primary elections. He spent 16 years in the public sector and 11 in the private sector. Educated at University of Lagos, Lagos Business School, Kennedy School of Government, London Business School, his educational qualifications, public and private sector achievements make him an extremely qualified candidate. He was a three-time commissioner in the state ( Commissioner of Budget and Economic Planning, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions) and had done a lot of work on improving the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). He had led the publication of the Lagos State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (LASEEDS) and had set up the Lagos State Security Trust Fund. His achievements and pedigree will be key in leading Lagos to the new level ahead.
Let us now take a look at the other half of the dream team.
Who is Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat?
Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat is a 54 years old, three-time commissioner in Lagos state.
At 28 years, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat earned a Ph.D. in System Process Engineering from Cranfield University, England and was the first student in the department to complete his doctorate within three years. For his first and second degrees he attended the University of Ibadan, where he graduated with a B.Sc. (Second Class Upper) in Agricultural Engineering in 1986 and a M.Sc. in Crop Processing Engineering in 1988. His quest for more knowledge also led him to the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Programme and Columbia University.
His distinguished private sector career saw him serve in three of the world’s largest banks – Citibank, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Inc., as System Design Lead, Design, Implementation and Alignment of I.T Strategy with Business Direction, and as Consultant on System and Infrastructural Upgrade. In Nigeria, he served as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Group Head, IT & Strategy at Oando Plc, managing the company’s key information assets.
Having distinguished himself in the private sector, he was excited about the plan for a new Lagos and began work immediately when appointed as the Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in August 2005 and retained the position when Governor Babatunde Fashola assumed office in 2007.
Great strides in the above ministries led to an appointment to a bigger portfolio at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure between 2011 and 2015. The Ministry which had no Commissioner in the first term of the administration had been supervised directly by the governor with help from a special adviser, but Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat’s success and the urgent need for increased focus on statewide infrastructural development had birthed this position.
From Electronic Document Management Systems to e-health initiatives to upgrades and management of the State Network Infrastructure to ICT laboratories and Forensic laboratories that provide better evidence in the adjudication of criminal cases and unsolved murder cases to the Lagos state residents registration agency framework, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat set out and completed rapid science and technology reforms across different sectors.
What is his role as Deputy Governor?
Constitutionally, the Lagos State Deputy Governor is directly responsible for supervising the Office of Civic Engagement and the Ministry of Education, two very critical areas where Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat’s vast experience can transform for the future of Lagos.
Apart from also deputizing for the governor on all state matters, he is Chairman, Lagos State Boundary Committee, handling all boundary disputes and development of border regions; Vice Chairman of the State Executive Council; Vice Chairman of the State Security Council and directly coordinates the Local Government Chieftaincy Committees as well as any other ministeries assigned to hm by the governor.
It is safe to say Dr. Obafemi Hamzat’s vast experience will come out to play and be extremely useful in the handling of his duties and any other duties given to him by the governor.
Selecting Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat is the best possible choice Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the All Progressive Congress in Lagos could have made not just for the party but also for the people of Lagos state.
It isn’t common to have a governor and his deputy so in sync because more often than not, the deputy position is usually given out as a form of tokenism to placate one faction or one arm of the party. This is not the case in this situation as Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Kadiri Olufemi Hamzat have been friends and colleagues for over a dozen years so there’s a mutual respect and understanding of the work that is needed to move Lagos to the next level. Dr. Hamzat will be a busy Deputy Governor who will compliment his friend the Governor. He will not be a spare tyre. For both Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat, governance in Lagos will get two for the price of one.
Never before in the history of governance in Nigeria has a team as experienced in the highest levels of private and public sectors as Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat ever come together dropping personal glory and leaving their individual dreams to join hands in focusing on taking a state to a new level. Their combined cerebral prowess is not in doubt. This combination is definitely the Dream Team for Lagos in 2019.
And that people, is a fact you can take to the bank.