By Fabian Ekeruche and Florence Onuegbu, Lagos.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has promised to increase the salaries and allowances of the staff of the Lagos State Waste Managers, particularly the street sweepers.
Sanwo-Olu made the promise in Lagos on Thursday, during the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWAMN) Mega Rally to support the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Candidate, Sen. Bola Tinubu and the governor’s re-election bid.
He said that his administration remained committed to the welfare of those that were ensuring cleaner city and secured environment.
According to him, the support by waste managers becomes imperative, as Tinubu is the brain behind the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), which many states in Nigeria have replicated.
He said that the election of Tinubu as President would raise the bar for more commitment to safeguarding the environment and spurring economic growth through the sector.
Sanwo-Olu urged everyone to vote for APC candidates throughout the country, so as to galvanise development across all levels.
The Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, appreciated the waste managers for their support, urging them to vote for Tinubu, as he had track record.
Hamzat also called on the waste managers to vote wisely and ensure they picked up their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), ahead of the February general elections.
In his goodwill message, the Managing Director, LAWMA, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, said that the rally was an opportunity for the waste managers to appreciate Tinubu.
Odumboni said that had the foundation of what had become AWAMN today was solidly laid by the APC presidential candidate many years ago.
He said that since one good turn deserved another, it was only worthwhile that the association mobilised its members en masse for APC’s victory in February elections.
“Today, we cannot effectively discuss waste management in Lagos State without mentioning PSP and AWAMN. Since a stream will not forget its source, we use this opportunity to thank our Jagaban (Tinubu) for the legacy of a lasting waste management structure for Lagos State.
“Very importantly, I commend AWAMN, its executives and the teeming PSP personnel in attendance here, demonstrating a massive show of support for our leader’s presidential ambition, and the re-election bid of our performing governor and his deputy.
“I must specifically note that while this mobilisation is very encouraging, we must equally translate the massive support to electoral votes on the election days. This is the only way to truly appreciate and help actualise the worthy ambitions of our leader as well as our governor.
”If all of us here today can cast our ballots for the tickets of Tinubu/Shettima and Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat, and for other APC candidates, you know what that means in number.
“Therefore, let us actualise their ambitions by actually voting. For those who have yet to collect their PVCs, the opportunity is still open. Ensure you collect yours to ensure victory for our leader, our governor and other APC candidates,” he said.
In his welcome address, the AWAMN President, Dr David Oriyomi, recalled that in 1999 when Tinubu became the governor of Lagos state, he inherited a state which was overcome with waste, and was labeled one of the dirtiest places in the world.
Oriyomi said that Tinubu had the option of bringing a foreign company to manage the waste in Lagos but chose to empower the people with his famous refrain: “If our people cannot clear their cities, what can they do?”.
He said that Tinubu nurtured and empowered the waste managers through the small-medium business model, while successive governments had built on the solid foundation.
He noted that Lagos was transformed and now received numerous accolades as one of the cleanest states in Nigeria and Africa.
“When our livelihood came under attack and 350 businesses were faced with the risk of bankruptcy, Asiwaju came to our rescue by speaking out for us and hereby, securing our livelihood.
“Today, the small business model established by Asiwaju has been replicated in over nine states in Nigeria and other West African countries.
“It is for this reason, we, as an association, is fully and wholly committed to voting and campaigning for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the next president of Nigeria.
“To our amiable governor, we recall that we were the first organisation that endorsed his candidature in 2018. We are pleased that he has proven us right by the great work that he has done in the state and for the environment,” he said.
The AWAMN president also said the people would recall that Tinubu inherited heaps of waste across the state and started by declaring a state of emergency on the environment and backed it up with action, leaving Lagos better than what he inherited.
“Now, under his leadership, waste is seen as resources and we are humble to be his foot soldiers to making circular economy a reality. We are committed to a Greater Lagos Rising!,” he said.
Oriyomi promised that the members would embark on a door-to-door campaign, as they had the reach all areas of the state where they were operating.
He pledged to secure 10 million votes for the association’s grand patron, Tinubu and Shettima and also two million votes for Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat.
Also, the APC Chairman in Lagos State, Mr Cornelius Ojelabi, urged the waste managers to vote massively for Tinubu for laying the foundation for a solid Lagos.
“Vote for him to become president. Collect your PVCs; tell others to go and collect their PVCs, so that we can vote for Tinubu and Sanwo-Olu,” Ojelabi said.
Prominent politicians who attended the rally include Mr Tunji Bello. Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Joe Igbokwe, the Special Adviser for Drainage and Water Resources to Sanwo-Olu and the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Ola Oresanya.