The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday described three of his predecessors as architects of the state who contributed immensely its transformation.
Mr. Ambode made this known while naming a recreational park after the three former governors in Ikeja, the stage capital.
The park, located at Alausa in Ikeja, was named after former military administrator of the state, Mobolaji Johnson; first civilian governor, Lateef Jakande, and Bola Tinubu, who governed the state between 1999 and 2007.
The park, now called JJT Park (Johnson, Jakande, Tinubu Park) is located opposite the House of Assembly and sits on a piece of land measuring about 21,880 square metres with two waterfalls, a children’s playground and free wi-fi for the residents.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mr. Ambode said the park was so named in honour of the trio, who he said worked tirelessly for the emergence of Lagos as one of the most prominent city-states in Africa.
Messers Johnson, Jakande and Tinubu made sterling contributions during their tenures, Mr. Ambode said, adding that their achievements would remain indelible.
“One of the hallmarks of any progressive society is to always recognise and reward the efforts of heroes, who contribute to the growth of that society,” he said.
“In the case of Lagos State, we have so many heroes who toiled and laid a solid foundation for the state we enjoy today.
“Today, we are here to celebrate and honour three past governors of our dear state who were outstanding in their contributions to the development of Lagos State. These eminent Lagosians are some of the very few brave men who stood to be counted on the side of justice and even by their performances while in office have written their names in gold for future generations.
“The roles played by Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, the first governor and Military Administrator of the state; Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the first civilian governor of Lagos State and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, governor and architect of modern Lagos, can never be forgotten. They are the true legends of our state, and architects of the Lagos we are proud of today.”
Mr. Ambode explained that Mr. Johnson built the 60.7-kilometre Lagos-Badagry Expressway linking Nigeria with other countries in the West African sub-region; the Itokin Bridge, linking Epe and Ikorodu; the Eko Bridge and a network of roads and bridges that opened up the new Lagos.
Mr. Jakande, he added, introduced masses-oriented programme in the education, housing and health sectors, adding that he also established new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and built over 30,000 housing units in different parts of the state for low income earners.
He described Mr. Tinubu as the architect of modern Lagos, saying his tenure witnessed the development of a blueprint for the future development of the state and which successive administrations have continued to build upon and actualise today.
“One of the remarkable achievements of Asiwaju Tinubu’s administration was the reform of the state tax administration system, which resulted in Lagos attaining the status of the most viable and self-sustaining state in Nigeria,” he explained.
“He also made huge investments in education and initiated new roads, required to meet the needs of the fast-growing population of the state.
“Asiwaju also established the institutional framework which ensured that the state was properly and efficiently run. It was under Asiwaju’s government that institutions like LIRS, LAMATA, LASTMA and many others came into existence.”
Mr. Ambode presented plaques to the former governors through their representatives, adding that the Lagos government was pleased to honour them while they are alive.
Mr. Johnson was the first military administrator of Lagos State. Mr. Jakande, on his part, governed Lagos between 1979 and 1983, and his government was reputed to have recorded successes in different areas of human development despite limited resources.
Mr. Tinubu, the national leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, on his part, was Lagos governor after the military handed over power to the civilians in 1999.
He governed between 1999 and 2007 after winning his re-election bid in 2003. He was succeeded by the Nigeria’s current minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola who governed between 2007 and 2015 and handed over power to the incumbent.