Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday officially unveiled an ultra modern recreational park in Alausa, Ikeja, in honour of three former governors of the state, namely Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson (rtd), Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The park known as Johnson, Jakande, Tinubu Park (JJT Park), which occupies a total land area of approximately 21,880sqm, is located in front of the State House of Assembly and a few metres away from Lagos House. It has two waterfalls, a children’s playground, free Wi-Fi access, among others.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at a ceremony to unveil the park, said it was part of efforts by his administration to immortalise heroes who worked hard for the emergence of Lagos as not only the Centre of Excellence, but also one of the most prominent city states in Africa.
He said the three former rulers were outstanding in their contributions to the development of the state and wrote their names in the sands of time, especially during their time in office.
“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 Lagos 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 that stood to be counted on the side of justice and even by their performances while in office, they have written their name in gold for future generations.
“The roles played by Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson (rtd), 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,” Governor Ambode said.
Governor Ambode, while going down memory lane, recalled that Brigadier Johnson laid the foundation as the pioneer governor of the newly created Lagos State in 1967 and constructed the 60.7-kilometre Lagos–Badagry Expressway linking Nigeria with countries in the West African sub region.
He said Alhaji Jakande, the first elected civilian governor of Lagos State, who held office for four years introduced masses-oriented programmes particularly in the education, housing and health sectors.
Ambode added that apart from the successful implementation of the Free Education Programme, Alhaji Jakande’s administration also established new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools, and also constructed over 30,000 housing units in different parts of the state for the benefit of low income earners.
Besides, Governor Ambode said Jakande’s tenure also witnessed the completion of the General Hospitals in Gbagada and Ikorodu as well as the establishment of about 20 health centres within the state.
“Alhaji Lateef Jakande conceived and initiated the Metro Line Transit System that would have provided a solution to the challenge being experienced in the transportation sector today,” he said.
The governor, while describing Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the architect of modern Lagos, said his tenure witnessed the development of a blue print for the future development of the state and which successive administrations had continued to build upon and actualize today.
“One of the remarkable achievements of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration was the reform of the State Tax Administration System which resulted in the state attaining the status of the most viable and self sustaining state in Nigeria. He also made huge investments in education and initiated new road constructions, 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,” he said.
Presenting plaques of honour to representatives of the three former governors, Governor Ambode said his administration decided to honour the trio while they are alive, just as he expressed optimism that the park would serve as a constant reminder of their sacrifices and the need to protect and preserve their virtues and what they stood for.
“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.
“On behalf of the government and the very appreciative people of Lagos State, I want to say a big thank you to these living legends for their sacrifice, commitment, dedication and passion for the growth and development of Lagos State. You will continue to be remembered and celebrated by men, women, and children, young and old from any part of the world who step into this garden which has been dedicated to you,” the governor said.
General Manager of the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Mrs. Bilikis Adebiyi-Abiola, in her welcome address, said the park aside being strategically located showcased the state government’s resolve to make parks available for recreation, for relaxation as well as social events.
According to her, it was also a testament that Governor Ambode has placed a high premium on the quality of life of Lagosians, adding that the government was poised to capture more degraded areas for beautification and landscaping projects.