Anyone following the ongoing issues in the Lagos State waste management space, generally, and the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA), specifically, would be compelled to think that whoever is involved in running the agency and its affiliated activities will have to take a high-level course in political and human management.
There seems to be an ebb and flow to the high-level jinks in the waste management space.
Coming off the highly contentious Visionscape era of Governor Ambode, the new Governor Sanwo-Olu tapped the cerebral Muyiwa Gbadegesin (a PhD holder in the Neurosciences), with his wealth of public service experience and achievements, cutting across Lagos and Oyo States over the past two decades or so, to come to tackle the environmental challenge in Lagos as head of the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA).
It would, however, seem that Dr. Gbadegesin’s doctorate in the neurosciences could not save even him from the mindless brain-numbing crosscurrents of political hawks and hacks operating at the top echelons of the state’s governance and political structures.
Were it that these hawks had an issue with Gbadegesin, who has been steadily righting and steadying the ship of the agency in achieving its destination of a cleaner and healthier Lagos, based on performance, that would be understandable, but all we seem to see here is just willful power grabbing at its worst with an eye on the supposed “Kitty” that LAWMA is perceived as.
Tragically also caught in this cross-current is a great emerging environmentalist per excellence, who though is more portrayed as just a politician, woman leader politician, Ola Williams, more popularly known as Iron Lady.
Perhaps it would seem that Iron Lady is the real target of the hawks who want to seize what they regard as her political base and her financial autonomy through the contracts she has with LAWMA for providing crews of street sweepers all over Lagos.
Iron Lady, whose passion for the environment led her to activate numerous stakeholder engagements in Apapa and environs and other communities to educate citizens on the need for their environment to be cleaned and well maintained and who deployed hundreds of her women for free in assisting the State to clean up the massive build-up of waste in Mile 2, which had accumulated in the previous administration, has come under attack and being accused of being a conduit for siphoning resources for the managing director of LAWMA, Dr. Gbadegesin.
Definitely being such a high performing contractor, she has the confidence of the now-suspended MD, as she does that of the national party leader, Asiwaju Tinubu and that of Governor Sanwo-Olu. This, perhaps, is why the hawks want to create a wedge between them by concoction the dangerous allegations against the Gbadegesin and Iron Lady.
It’s intriguing and mind-boggling that a Lady who would forgo millions to assist the Agency to achieve its goals would now be accused of being a fraud.
In her words on the Mile 2 clean-up assistance: “I volunteered and mobilised my women to clean Mile 2 because those who wanted to do the job were charging LAWMA billions of naira.
“So when I heard, I called the MD of LAWMA and told him we will do the job.
“I am happy doing this job, I cannot sit down and watch things go wrong. As a women leader, I have to mobilise my people to do what is right,” she had stated.
If you are conversant with Mile 2, you will know the terrible state it was in.
It, therefore, rankles to see these hawks who have no vision, no plan for the environment and or the health of Lagosians attempt to viciously wreck the progress made in LAWMA over the past nine months that Gbadegesin took over, just for their own innately selfish and greed-driven fiscal pecuniary and political wants, as opposed to the greater good of the citizens of the state and Lagos State.
It would seem bald and bare face ambition is let loose on the land and the citizens at the expense of the livelihood and lives of hundreds of hardworking women and men, many the elderly, risking their lives on the streets and highways of Lagos, as LAWMA Sweepers, to keep Lagos clean and healthy, flood-free all for a basic wage of twenty-five thousand Naira, which they depend on just because some people want to play God, Lord and Master, towards some nebulous greed-driven political goals.
To level, spurious, fictional, dangerous and character-damaging allegations of fraud and a concocted “Fraud Running into Hundreds of Millions of Naira Revealed After Audit at LAWMA” is most callous and smacks of the most sinister intentions towards Gbadegesin. An audit process that hasn’t been concluded and which hasn’t gone through the final processes of governmental administration. Can’t they wait for the conclusion of the process? Why do these hawks want to write their own report using the media?
When such political hawks in governance start sponsoring so-called social media influencers, online “activists” and other media jobbers to malign the reputations that have been built by the dint of hard work, methodical applications, sacrifices, knowledge acquisition, both academic and non-academic, then there really is trouble in the land, a pestilence let loose in the environment which even the Ministry of Environment cannot fumigate out of existence nor LAWMA sweep away.
May the governor and the political leadership in Lagos help and save us all.