Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday named a recreational park at Alausa in Ikeja, the state capital, after three former governors: Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson (retd.), Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The park, now called Johnson, Jakande, Tinubu Park (JJT 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.
Performing the inauguration, Ambode said the park was done 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.
Ambode said Johnson, Jakande and Asiwaju Tinubu made sterling contributions during their tenures, adding that their achievements would remain indelible.
He said: “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. 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.”
The governor recalled that Johnson built the 60.7-kilometre Lagos-Badagry Expressway linking Nigeria with other countries in the West African sub-region; the Itoikin Bridge, linking Epe and Ikorodu; the Eko Bridge and a network of roads and bridges that opened up the new Lagos.
He said Jakande, who was in office for four years, introduced masses-oriented programmes, particularly in the Education, housing and health sectors.
According to him, apart from the successful implementation of the Free Education programme, Jakande 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.
Ambode said: “His tenure also witnessed the completion of the general hospitals at Gbagada and Ikorodu as well as the establishment of about 20 health centres across the state. Alhaji Lateef Jakande conceived and initiated the metro line transit system, which would have solved the challenge being experienced in the Transportation sector today.”
The governor described Asiwaju 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.
He added: “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 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.”
Ambode, who presented plaques to the former governors, through their representatives, said his administration honoured them while they are alive.
The governor expressed optimism that the park would serve as a constant reminder of their sacrifices and the need to protect and preserve their legacies and ideals.
He said: “More importantly, it will serve as a reminder and a source of inspiration for leaders who would have the honour and privilege to occupy the seat that was once occupied by these great men of history.”
The General Manager of the State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Mrs. Bilikis Adebiyi-Abiola, noted that aside from being strategically located, the park also showcases the state government’s resolve to make parks available for recreation, for relaxation as well as for social events