TW@51: Lagos education and the Tokunbo Wahab effect, By Babajide Fadoju
Good leaders are hard to come by, and only leaders who know what it takes to make the good leadership mark apply the Jesus strategy – the rule of discipleship – in the art of governance, casting the net of purposeful leadership across borders to welcome likeminds on board in their administrations.
Such is the nature of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, whose eagle eyes for like-minded leaders landed a pragmatic reformer like Barr. Tokunbo Wahab into his cabinet as the Special Adviser to His Excellency on Education. A catch that has left Lagos State Education Sector basking in the euphorial of novel initiatives and positive landmarks necessary to situate Lagos State at the apex of the map, where it belongs.
In counting the best hands that have made the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration a resounding success, Barr. Wahab is one leader too many who has proven that change is intentional to those who seek it for the benefit of the common man.
Barr. Wahab’s several ground-breaking exploits since he assumed office in Sanwo-Olu’s administration as his Special Adviser on Education, despite his portfolio quite averse to his original training as a lawyer, has attracted quite a narrative in the education sector of Lagos State. A change-maker, a giver, and an administrator per excellence, Barr. Wahab has dared to thread the path where angels dread, challenging the Lagos Education problems with the audacious charisma of one who very well knows that his boss is equal to any challenge facing Lagos State.
Beginning with the Eko Digital Initiative, which is aimed at guaranteeing access to modern/technological resources that will foster learning at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the state, Barr. Wahab turned learning into a prided activity with his initiative of upgrading and digitalization of libraries in different locations, including the remote areas in Lagos. No wonder Lagos State University, LASU, ranked second in Nigeria and 501 to 600 in the world according to the Times Higher Education World Ranking released in September 2021; and the best Young University in Nigeria, as released by same Times Higher Education, THE.
The very intentional Barr. Wahab drew another applause from far and wide when he initiated, spearheaded, and led the committee of management and heads of Lagos State Tertiary institutions to the University of London, for training and re-training on capacity development; an off-shoot of Sanwo-Olu and Tokunbo Wahab’s mutual understanding that education is the best avenue for self, corporate and regional development, thus, by extension, the maiden visit to London in this regard, could be regarded as one of many good steps in the direction towards greatness for yearning Lagos citizens.
Under his watch, the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration has commissioned library/ICT centres across Lagos State secondary schools; constructed administrative buildings at Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH, Isolo; LASU/eCornel Business School in Victoria Island; 8,700 bed space for students of LASU; and upgraded LASPOTECH, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, AOCOED, Ijanikin and Micheal Otedola College of Primary Education, MOCPED, Epe to University of Technology and University of Education.
To honour his resilience in bringing Lagos State Education to 21st century standards, Barr. Wahab was awarded the Government Official of the Year (2021) at the Excellence Recognition Awards’ 17th edition in Lagos. This in no small measures sited the sagacity of this young multi-dexterous leader who many believe got his leadership traits from his parents.
His father, Dodo – Prince Olugbenga Wahab of the Otuwunmi Ateshinmara Royal Dynasty- was a well known political leader in Epe while his mother Muyi Wahab – (Nee Sosanya Aberuagba) was a dogged women leader and grassroots mobilizer in Epe and Sagamu (Ogun State).
Even as he turns 51 come Wednesday May 17th, the people of Lagos State dare to believe that the best is yet to come from this leader, who never rests until the status quo is changed.