Tokunbo Wahab: Making the case for deploying round pegs in round holes, by Babajide Fadoju 

When the Yoruba’s say “Omo wa ni e o je o she”, it is usually perceived with an air of nepotism, that you are giving a role to a person solely because of their ethnic coloration or other biases that doesn’t include performance indices or a proven track record. 

This wasn’t the case from the beginning. In the first republic, when the praises and cognomen of notable politicians of Yoruba extraction were being sung and omo wa ni e je o she was thrown in the mix, it is because the people trust you enough that you will deliver when you are thrust into a position of greater responsibility – that you will be the round peg in a round new ministry or parastatal.

One man upholding that virtue in the Lagos state cabinet currently is Tokunbo Wahab. Appointed in 2019 as the special assistant on Education, he distinguished himself. He did so excellently that he was honored as the Government Official of the Year at the Excellence Recognition Awards in September 2021. 

The affable, hardworking legal practitioner was recognized for the giant strides recorded in Lagos State’s education sector.

While other regions struggled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wahab orchestrated an agile response. Collaborating with educational stakeholders, he ensured continuity by swiftly transitioning Lagos schools to online platforms, a move that maintained academic momentum during closures.

Wahab continues his impactful tenure as the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources. 

His dedication remains unwavering, expanding upon the virtues that defined his prior role. Notably, his actions to maintain order in the city have not gone unnoticed.

Toks Wahab
Toks Wahab

Tokunbo Wahab is the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, an office important to Lagosians’ health and safety. He has doubled down on the virtues that distinguished him as a SA to the Governor.   

He had a home run in education, he is setting the base for an even matchless, breath-taking run as Commissioner.

Not a day passes that operatives of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources are not out and about to ensure things are in order. In Lagos, where access is Power and name is currency, these persistent activities have ruffled feathers, no doubt; notable bars, lounges, and churches have been shut down due to noise pollution. Shanties have been pulled down in their numbers, and palatial residences sitting pretty on drainage reserved spots have been marked for demolition, with some already demolished.

Wahab’s proactive measures, though aimed at ensuring a healthier and safer Lagos, have sparked controversy. His team’s stringent actions to curb noise pollution resulted in the closure of prominent establishments. Moreover, the crackdown on unauthorized construction in crucial areas has drawn mixed reactions. The fear of the ministry he heads is now making Lagosians put their head in the right place.  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, how highly placed you are; Tokunbo Wahab and the ministry he heads are about discharging their duties.

Wahab’s unrelenting initiatives have generated admiration and discontent in a city where influence and reputation hold considerable sway. Yet, it’s undeniable that his relentless drive for a better Lagos aligns with the sentiments of ‘Omo wa ni e je o she’—contextualizing it within a framework of tireless service and dedication to the city’s well-being. It is without a doubt that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is proud of the commissioner’s achievements as he has hunkered in and started delivering results from day one. Indeed, Mr Governor should be proud that he deployed Wahab in the new capacity, a step up from his previous position. It is a testament to leadership that works and the very spirit that has brought Lagos this far.

Tokunbo Wahab’s resolute efforts underscore a challenging reality: pursuing progress often requires tough decisions that may polarize opinions. In his consistent endeavors to uplift Lagos, Wahab embodies a testament to passionate service, leaving an indelible mark on the state’s landscape.

Babajide Fadoju writes from Akure, Ondo State

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