Mobolaji Johnson: Buhari, Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, others mourn


President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the government and people of Lagos State over the death of Brig.-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson (rtd), first Military Governor of the state.
The President, in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday, commiserated with family members, friends and associates of the former governor, who had a distinguished career in the Nigerian Army, starting as a cadet in 1959 and retiring in 1975.
Buhari affirmed that late Johnson laid solid foundation for the development of infrastructure in the state and provided a good framework for the civil service.
He noted that the Johnson’s footprints in promoting education and building durable health system will always be remembered.
Buhari prayed that almighty God would accept the soul of the departed, while calling on all leaders of the state and the people to uphold the legacies of discipline and selfless service bequeathed by Johnson.
All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described Johnson as a Nigerian statesman and one of the true fathers of Lagos.
Tinubu, in a statement by Mr Tunde Rahman, his media aide, on Thursday in Lagos, also described Johnson as a man of high integrity who served Lagos with dedication and determination.
The general died on Wednesday in Lagos at the age of 83.
Tinubu, in a condolence statement, said: “Brigadier-General Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson, who died on Wednesday at 83, was an important national statesman and one of the true fathers of Lagos.
“First military Governor of Lagos, Johnson embodied the true spirit of Lagos. He served Lagos with dedication and determination.
“He contributed immensely to the state, developing the civil service. His tenure in Lagos also witnessed the building of major infrastructure in the state.”
Tinubu said Johnson was always available to advise and extend a helping hand to successive regimes in Lagos, and particularly to him during his time as governor.
According to him, Johnson made laudable contributions to the unity of the country as one of those who fought for Nigeria’s indivisibility.
“A committed nationalist, he laid the foundation for the development of the Federal Capital Territory as the first administrator of the former Federal Territory of Lagos in 1966.
“He was a man of high integrity.
“Johnson was one of the two Governors (along with Brig-Gen. Oluwole Rotimi) who was given a clean bill by the three-man panel commissioned to investigate the various allegations of corruption among the state governors who served under General Gowon.
“Nigeria will miss him; Lagos will miss him. We will all miss him.
”I commiserate with his wife, children and other family members. My condolences also go to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the state government over the transition.
“We thank God Brigadier Johnson lived to an advanced age and left behind good children and significant legacies.
“May his soul rest in peace,” Tinubu said.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State also commiserated with the Johnson family.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu described “the late General Johnson as a complete gentleman and officer. A dedicated Lagosian.
Johnson’s was the first Military Governor of Lagos State from May 1967 to July 1975.
He said, ‘‘Although General Mobolaji Johnson has gone to be with his Lord and Creator, the memories of great accomplishments he left behind will linger on forever. One remembers how the late General Johnson’s administration worked with other seasoned professionals to establish five Government Colleges and Housing Estates, which were commissioned by the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, within one year of his administration. This, to me, is the hallmark of service and has remained a benchmark for successive administrations in the state.’’
Sanwo-Olu, who described the late Johnson as a man of vision with a mission to see a modern Lagos evolve, noted that the vision had started to manifest in what we see today as every successive administration strives to build on the developmental structure and foundation of good governance laid by late General Johnson.
He added, “We must ensure that the people enjoy the dividend of democracy. Development must touch the lives of the people directly. This is the best way to immortalise the late Mobolaji Johnson because this is virtue he lived for.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of late Brigadier General Mobolaji Johnson.’’
More reactions continued to trail the death of Johnson.
Prof. Isaac Albert, the Dean of Multidisciplinary Studies, University of Ibadan (UI), said “we have lost one of our best military officers’’.
“He displayed a fine gentleman character, and was never implicated in any scandal.
“He was one of the last of his generation,’’ Albert said.
Prof. Philip Ujomu of the Department of Philosophy, Federal University, Wukari, Taraba said Johnson was one of the early leaders of Lagos.
Ujomu said Johnson had a good reputation worthy of emulation.
He noted that Johnson was an iconic leader worthy of emulation by contemporary leaders.
According to him, there is a gradual phasing out of Johnson’s generation.
“His generation had the penchant for putting others first before themselves,’’ Ujomu said.
Similarly, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, Convener, Centre for Change, described Johnson’s death as a colossal loss.
“He was a man of dedication to national peace and progress.
“He lived his active life in advancing the cause of humanity, no doubt, we will miss him and his wealth of experience,’’ Odumakin said.
Johnson was appointed Military Administrator by the late Head of State, Major Gen. Johnson Thomas Umunakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, and later, governor of Lagos State by his successor, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd).
Johnson served in that capacity between 1966 and 1975 when he was compulsory retired by late former Head of State, Gen. Murtala Mohammed.
He was 39 when he retired.


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