GOWON, FASHOLA, DANJUMA, OTHERS EULOGISE MOBOLAJI JOHNSON
Prominent Nigerians including a former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd); Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd), on Thursday eulogised the first governor of Lagos, Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson (retd) for his landmark achievements as military governor of the state.
The gathering, which marked Johnson's 74th birthday in Lagos, also witnessed the presentation of a book titled, 'Lagos State-My life of service with integrity,' written by the host.
Gowon described the former military governor as an officer of exemplary conduct, just as he urged him to continue in his 'life of service and integrity.'
The former head of state, who was chairman of the event, further commended Johnson for living a life of service with integrity, adding, 'He is a soldier, an officer and gentleman, military administrator and the pioneer governor of Lagos.'
He stated further, 'The host is recognised and acknowledged. Let me congratulate you on your 74th birthday and the presentation of your biography.
'Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, we wish you many happy birthdays and may God grant you many happy years to continue your life of service and integrity.
'Yes, Mobolaji Johnson indeed had an exemplary life and career. Let me join in saluting Mrs. Fumi Johnson, the real gem of the family for the life time support you have given him.'
Gowon also stated that his decision to appoint Johnson as military administrator of Lagos State in 1975 was based on his trust for him.
According to him, 'He (Johnson) was a good officer and I have been very close to him. He was somebody I could trust to look after Lagos for me. And I must say that when I did that, I had great relief.'
Among dignitaries at the event were former head of the Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan; a former governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; Prelate of the Methodist Church, Dr. Sunday Makinde, Admiral Mike Akhigbe, (retd.); Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (retd.); and Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.
Others were a former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji MD Yusuf; a former judge at the International Court of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola; a former vice- chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Grace Alele-Williams; Chief Sonny Odogwu; Ambassador Segun Olusola; Chief Razaq Okoya; Mr. Philip Asiodu; Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas; Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, traditional rulers, among others.
In his remarks, Fashola commended the former military governor for laying the foundation on which Lagos State was known for.
He, however, pledged to continue to build on the structures left by his predecessor.
Fashola, who was chief guest of honour, said he was privileged to honour the man who laid the foundation of Lagos on he has continued to build on as the 13the governor of the state.
He said 'I am truly privileged to be here today as the 13th governor of Lagos State to come and celebrate the first governor of Lagos. In between us stand former governors of Lagos and I can see some of them here seated here today.
'I believe that those who say our institutions are strong are saying it because we have succeeded in building on the structures and institutions on 12 strong shoulders.'
Fashola, who further called for the strengthening of institutions in the country, said it was imperative for nation building.
While commending dignitaries for coming to honour him, Johnson said he had been a lucky man all through his life.
He, however, promised to continue to provide quality service to his community, especially Lagos State.
Johnson said, 'Today is a day of joy for me and I'm flattered by your attendance. I'm really thrilled and honoured by your presence. 'I must say looking back with a sense of achievement that when I look at the buses and everywhere and see the coat of arms of Lagos State, I feel a sense of fulfillment, that one of the original things my administration did has stood the test of time.'
He also advised youths to ensure they do their best to restore the glory of Nigeria.