Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat (Deputy Governor of Lagos State, has blue blood running in his veins. But he does not allow his royal and elitist background go into his head. Where many with his upbringing would display pride and arrogance, Hamzat chose to be humble in life and diligent in service. The path he chose to thread has, unarguably, contributed immensely to the height he has attained today as the Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Nigeria’s leading state in virtually all the positive parameters.
Dr. Hamzat was born on September 19th 1964 in Lagos to Late Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat, Olu of Afowowa Sogaade. His mother is late Alhaja Kehinde Hamzat, who is from Iga Egbe in Lagos Island.
Dr. Hamzat attended Odu Abore Memorial Primary School, Mushin, Lagos State and Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo State in the southwest region of Nigeria. He proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he graduated with a B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering (1986) and a Masters in Agricultural Engineering (1988). In 1992, he graduated from Cranfield University, England with a PhD in System Process Engineering, becoming the first student in the department to complete his doctorate within three years. He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Programme.
Dr. Hamzat’s career has seen him work in both the private and public sectors with experience in organizations such as RTP Consulting Services, City of New York; Columbia University, Merrill Lynch Inc, Morgan Stanley and Oando Plc., as Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Group Head, IT Strategy of Oando Plc, Lagos.
Dr. Hamzat’s arrival into the public service from an illustrious private sector career, was announced by his appointment as Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in August 2005. He was seamlessly retained as Commissioner for Science and Technology when Governor Babatunde Fashola took over from Tinubu in 2007 because of Hamzat’s comprehensive rollout plan of designed initiatives that permanently changed the face of data and record keeping in the State. Within the administration, he introduced and championed the automation of government processes. This helped change and improve the way public servants carry out their operations in the State, as well as eradicate State ghost workers through the implementation of enterprise resource planning.
In 2011, Dr Hamzat was appointed Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, a position he held till May 2015. As Commissioner, he was responsible for many civil and construction works in the State. His notable achievements are, but not limited to, the completion of the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge linking Admiralty Way to Bourdillon Road, Nigeria’s first cable-stayed bridge and the construction of the Lekki Expressway with the upgrade, expansion and maintenance of approximately 50km of the Lekki-Epe Expressway (Phase I), and construction of Yaya Abatan Road, Cemetery Road in Ajeromi Ifelodun, Expansion of Lagos Badagry expressway with a rail (blue line) and other infrastructures across the State.
For his extraordinary performance and technical abilities, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister for Power, Works and Housing appointed him as his Special Adviser Technical.
In this advisory role, which he occupied from January 2016 to August 2018, Hamzat was Adviser to the Honourable Minister on roads and other infrastructure assets. In addition to this, he also served as Consultant to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on public infrastructure such as Architectural designs, Structural designs, Quantity surveying, Mechanical and Engineering devices.
He had tried to succeed Fashola in 2015 as Governor but narrowly lost the ticket to Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and as a true democrat, he had forged ahead waiting for another opportunity.
In 2019, he also contested for the Governorship position, but had to step down during the primary election for the eventual winner, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu who picked him as running mate.
As a Deputy Governor, particularly one dealing with intense pressures, he relies on many things, perspective and context; and strategic counsel and courage of conviction. But chief among them is loyalty. And in a word, that strengthens Obafemi‘s relationship with his bosses, peers and underlings.
A strong and dedicated leader, he brings clarity of thought and purpose to his work. He is a good listener who comes to the table not with some preset notion of distrust but rather an open mind; he asks tough questions and tries to find solutions.
In today’s climate, where people avoid blame instead of finding common ground, the qualities Obafemi brings to his job are rare. That only makes leadership like his more valuable.
Despite the tempestuous tides of the political space, Obafemi continues to navigate the storms with a sturdy and solemn resolve to remain atop and afloat.
He has no doubt in the last three and half years been a very trusted ally and dependable partner in the quest of Gov Babajide Sanwo-Olu to make Lagos State a true centre of excellence in all sectors.
Unlike the stories of betrayal, mistrust and frosty relationship that usually characterise the office of the Governor and Deputy Governor and thereby making governance to suffer, Dr Hamzat has remained his unassuming self, doing all that are within his purview to ensure that Lagos State prosper the more.
Interestingly, no less a person than Asiwaju Bola Amed Tinubu, Hamzat’s former boss, National Leader and Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was full of praises for the Deputy Governor for the complementary role he has played in Sanwo-Olu’s administration so far.
Tinubu said at a party stakeholder meeting in Lagos: “We have a brilliant Governor at the helm of affairs, who is supported by his Deputy to build an unbreakable team that has raised the bar of excellence in governance in Lagos. I specially thank Dr Hamzat, who has been a very good assistant and a pillar of support to the Governor.” He added: “Sanwo-Olu with Hamzat has raised an impenetrable team. I commend both of you and all members of the cabinet. You have all done wonderfully well and I must say that I am very proud of you.”
In recognition of the exceptionally supportive role Dr. Hamzat has played as Deputy to Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state for over three years, he has been honoured with the award of the Most Complementary Deputy Governor of the Year by the Top10 magazine.