Eminent Nigerians bid Johnson farewell


FAMILY, colleagues and friends of the late first military administrator of Lagos State, Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson (rtd) gathered on Thursday at the Hoares Memorial Methodist Cathedral, Yaba for his final funeral service and interment.

The late Mobolaji Johnson died at 83. He was described by family and friends as a thoroughbred Lagosian, an astute leader and administrator.

In his sermon, Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Uche, noted that believers serving God and persevere were bound to enjoy paradise.

Eminent personalities at the event include Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his wife Ibijoke, former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola.

Others are Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, former Ogun State Governor Aremo Olusegun Osoba, former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke and Chief Akin Aduwo.

On Tuesday, the Onikan Stadium was named him. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the change of name during the Day of Tribute for Late Johnson at Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island.

The stadium is now known as Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson Stadium.

The late 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.

•From left: Senator Tinubu; Chief Obasanjo and Gen. Oladipo Diya. Behind: Senator Obanikoro

The late 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.

Under his leadership, the state government generated a larger proportion of its earnings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

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 inaugurated the nurses’ hostel, doctors flat at Marina, Isolo and Harvey Road Health Centres.

His administration also built the maternity annexe at Onikan Health Centre and an additional ward at Igbobi Orthopaedic Hospital.

The administration opened five new Government Colleges in each of the five divisions of the state.

The Gen. Johnson 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).

The late 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.

Johnson died on Wednesday, October 30 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.

Former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu, in a tribute to the late Johnson, described him as a gentleman.

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

•From left: Former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke; Ndubuisi Kanu and Brig. Gen. Olagunsoye Oyinlola

“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.”

The first son of the deceased, Mr Seyi Johnson, said: “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.”

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