Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Still on My Lagos, Our Lagos at 50 - By Kunle Ogedengbe.

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Lagos which means lake is a name given to the area by the Portuguese who got attention of the state in the 15th century according to the Lagos State Government website ( However, Lagos in is present state came to be in 1967 when the government of General Gowon created states from the existing four regions of Nigeria in 1967. It is for this that he state is celebrating its 50th year’s anniversary this year 2017.

Development of Lagos has passed through many faces and unarguably, each governor of Lagos whether military or civilian has played a critical role in the being of Lagos. Together, they played a defining role in the effective coordination of all programmes and activities of the government of the state.

Lagos is 50 and the journey to another 50 years. Lagos, one of the pioneer states in Nigeria, a swing state and the commercial capital of Nigeria is blessed with 14 governors including the incumbent, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. Others are Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson (1967 to 1975, the longest serving governor of the state), Commodore Adekunle Lawal (1975 to 1977), Commodore Ndubuisi Kanu (1977 to 1978), Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (1978 to 1979), Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande (1979 to 1983), Air Commodore Gbolahan Mudashiru (1984 to 1986), Navy Captain Mike Akhigbe (1986 to 1988), Brigadier General Raji Alagbe Rasaki (1988 to 1992), Sir Michael Otedola (1992 to 1993), Colonel Olagunoye Oyinlola (1993 to 1996), Colonel Buba Marwa (1996 to 1999), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu (1999 to 2007), Mr. Babatunde Fashola (2007 to 2015), and the incumbent Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2015 to date).

Brigadier Johnson laid the solid foundation that Lagos now rests. He is the father of modern Lagos. His infrastructural development and neat policies and programmes from the Federal Government and the Western Region government deserve great commendation. His successor, Commodore Lawal continued in the same stride of keeping the excellent flag of Lagos flying. Same to Commodore Kanu and Commodore Ukiwe who handed over to Alhaji Jakande in 1979. That marks the first time that Lagos is being governed by a civilian. While in office, Alhaji Jakande ensured many development strides in Lagos which Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Tunde Fanimokun noted in their advertisement of celebrating the 74th birthday of Alhaji Jakande published in The Punch newspaper of Wednesday, July 23, 2003, page 41. Among others, the Fanimokuns identified him as founding father of NTDA, LASACO, LBIC, Water Corporation, Lagos State University, Lagos Television and as a Master Builder of Housing Estates.
Image result for Lagos at 50 After him came Air Commodore Mudashiru who streamlined government and will never be forgotten for his role in ensuring ownership of the present main campus of the Lagos State Polytechnic in Ikorodu. Navy Captain Akhigbe came next. He also left indelible marks in development of the state even in education where he provided enabling environment for private school to prosper. Next came Brigadier Rasaki, the “Action Governor” who ensured security, educational development and active governance of the state. Sir Otedola took over from Brigadier Rasaki in 1992. Sir Otedola gave the Appellation, “State of Excellence” to Lagos apart from other infrastructural strides including housing. Colonel Oyinlola became Governor of Lagos after Sir Otedola in 1993. He also continued on the development stream of Lagos including the construction of the Opebi Link Bridge. Colonel Marwa came after. He was instrumental in maintaining good security in Lagos apart from other development strides including housing for the people.

Between 1983 and 1999, Lagos was governed by a civilian governor, Sir Otedola, for only two years. The rest 14 years were by military governors. In 1999, Senator Tinubu became the 12th governor of Lagos. His government set the base for a new Lagos towards being a mega city. He also improved on the infrastructural facilities he met on ground including roads, transportation, housing, security among others apart from founding LASTMA which is helping Lagosians to better manage the traffic situation in the state. After him is Mr. Fashola, the Eko oni baje exponent. His development strides, like others before him included housing, transportation, security among others.

The incumbent, Mr. Ambode, the exponent of “Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko loje wa logun” (development of Lagos State is our concern), is not leaving any stone unturned. Many of the infrastructural facilities are being given facelifts and improvements. It is no gainsaying that if this stride of “Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko loje wa logun” continues, especially on infrastructural development, which has already marked the beginning of another 50 years, the next 50 years will transform Lagos to more than a mega city.

--- Kunle Ogedengbe lives in Lagos
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