One of the hallmarks of every progressive society is to always recognize and reward the efforts of heroes who contribute to the growth of that society. In the case of Lagos State, we have many heroes who toiled and laid the solid foundation for the Lagos we enjoy today.
One of the things our administration has tried to do this year, as part of activities to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of our State, is to immortalize heroes who worked hard for the emergence of Lagos as the centre of Excellence and one of as the most prominent City-States in Africa.
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 who by their performances while in office have written their names 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.
Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson Rtd, laid the foundation as the pioneer Governor of the newly created Lagos State in 1967. He constructed the 60.7-kilometre Lagos–Badagry Expressway linking Nigeria with 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.
Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande was the first elected Civilian Governor of Lagos State and held office for 4 years. His tenure witnessed the introduction of masses-oriented programmes particularly in the education, housing and health sectors. Apart from the successful implementation of the Free Education Programme, his administration 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.
His 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.
Our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is the architect of modern Lagos. His tenure witnessed the development of a blue print for the future development of our State and which successive administrations have 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.
We have decided to honour these illustrious heroes and Patrons of our State while they are still alive through this beautiful Garden that has been named the JJT Park – Johnson, Jakande, Tinubu Park. It is our expectation and hope that this garden will be a constant reminder to us of the sacrifices of these our heroes and the need to protect and preserve the virtues of our heroes 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.
I commend the contractors; Flower Angels, Terra Kulture and TNA Associates, who worked round the clock to deliver this beautiful park. I also commend the Commissioner, Special Adviser, Permanent Secretary and all staff of the Ministry of Environment and as well as the General Manager and Staff of Lagos State Parks and Gardens for a job very well done.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention. I wish you merry Christmas and a prosperous new year ahead.
Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko Loje Wa Logun!