Friday, September 17, 2021

Lagos govt renames Onikan Stadium after Mobolaji Johnson

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The Lagos State Government on Tuesday renamed Onikan Stadium after Late Mobolaji Johnson in recognition of his illustrious service as the first military administrator of Lagos.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the change of name during the Day of Tribute for Late Johnson at Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said that the Onikan Stadium would now be known as “Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson Stadium”.

He said that the honour was necessary considering the achievements of Johnson to move Lagos State to greater heights.

According to him, Johnson, the first military administrator and governor of Lagos State, set the state on a course and a race of an unending quest for improvement, innovation and development.

“Mobolaji Johnson was first appointed the Administrator of the Federal Territory of Lagos on January 15, 1966 and later as Military Governor at the creation of the State on May 27, 1967.

“His regime witnessed an increase in the state’s revenue from N36.7million to N99.7million. The increase was largely due to the revenue allocation formula that had just been introduced and increased revenue from crude oil, which was partly shared out to the state governments.

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“Under his leadership, the state government generated the larger proportion of its earnings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). According to the government then, the IGR was known as “sources under the control of the Lagos State Government”.

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“The Mobolaji Johnson administration began the construction of Ikorodu and Mushin General Hospitals. It also modernised the General Hospital, Lagos, by building the new mortuary block, physical medicine department, sewage treatment plant and installation of a standby generator.

“The administration also commissioned the nurses’ hostel, doctors flat at Marina, Isolo and Harvey Road Health Centres,” he said.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said that Johnson’s administration also built the maternity annex at Onikan Health Centre and an additional ward at Igbobi Orthopedic Hospital.

He added that the administration equally opened five new Government Colleges in each of the five divisions of the state.

The governor said that Gen. Johnson’s administration also introduced the harmonised teachers’ salaries and conditions of service to enhance the status of the profession and commenced the implementation of the Universal Primary Education, UPE.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said that Johnson also completed projects under the Lagos Water Supply phase 1 Expansion Programme and designed the Owo Water Works as an alternative to Iju Water Works to serve Ojo and environs.

Other strides of the administration are: Construction of the Victoria Island Sewage Scheme for Ikoyi, Lagos Island etc.; introduction of the regulations for motorcyclists to wear crash helmets; and introduction of Traffic Courts.

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Also, the establishment of Agricultural Extension Works Stations; construction and commissioning of the Government Printing Press at Isheri road in Ikeja, among others.

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“We gather here today not to mourn but to celebrate a distinguished life, the life of Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson, a great patriot, an accomplished administrator, one of the makers of modern Lagos who, sadly, will never share this physical space with us again.

“In whatever role we knew him, the first and longest serving military administrator of Lagos State stood out as a special person for his leadership and charismatic personality.

“If anyone was qualified to be addressed as “an officer and a gentleman”, it was General Johnson.

“Despite his imposing frame, he was as gentle as a dove. He never threw his weight around, even though he was a man of power,” he said.

Earlier, The National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, extolled the virtues of Johnson, describing him as a man of integrity.

“Johnson was a true gentleman, a servant leader and a man of incorruptible character. He never used his position to amass personal wealth.

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“He did not compromise in his profession. He left a good legacy in public service. He laid a durable foundation for Lagos State. He served the people and made them the cornerstone of social and economic policies.

“Johnson embarked on re-engineering and assembling the best cabinet to show transparency at that time.

“He showed courage and strong determination for the benefit of Lagos State. His retirement was sudden following the coup in 1975. He lived a life of great contentment,” Tinubu said.

Others who also spoke extolling the virtue of Johnson were: former Military Administrators, Brig. Gen. Raji Rasaki, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba.

The first son of the deceased, Seyi Johnson, who led family members to the event, thanked the Lagos Government for the honour done to his father.

“One of the lessons our father taught us as children is the attribute of tolerance. He told us not to discriminate against anyone irrespective of background,” Johnson said.

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Recall that Johnson died on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 after a brief illness. He was aged 83. Johnson was born on Feb. 9, 1936.

The late first military governor ruled from May 1967 to July 1975 during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon.


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