The good and everlasting English playwright, William Shakespeare famously wrote that ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.’
The late Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson, the pioneer army administrator of Lagos had the uncommon mixture of all of the three types of greatness. His father, Joseph Modupe Johnson was a former Minister for Info and so loved a privileged upbringing. He had the good thing about a superb training on the well-known Hussey Faculty, Warri and Methodist Boys Excessive College.
After leaving MBHS which his father additionally attended, he took an unpopular course of becoming a member of the army. For the son of a politician to affix an establishment that was seen in these days as these for the societal dregs should have precipitated some altercation between him and his father. We recall the anguish of Sir Louis Phillip Odumegwu-Ojukwu when his well-known son, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu joined the military after his very costly training in the UK. Sadly, we don’t have the small print of what should have transpired between Mobolaji and his dad.
The army took over energy in 1966 and destiny thrust the Omoluabi as the primary army administrator of Lagos on the tender age of thirty underneath Main-Basic Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi. After Ironsi’s assassination, Basic Yakubu Gowon created Lagos as a state alongside eleven others and made him the primary army governor.
As governor, he ensured that Lagosians had been stored protected in the course of the Nigerian civil struggle. After the struggle was gained, he made considered use of the sudden oil increase by constructing the Eko Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge, The Bridge linking Epe to Ikorodu, Lagos-Badagry expressway which related Nigeria with Benin Republic, Ghana and Togo. He additionally reclaimed the bar seaside shoreline and led the drive for residents to promptly pay their taxes.
He invested massively within the infrastructural improvement of the state and laid the muse for the financial prosperity the nation’s former capital at present enjoys.
The army had at all times been related to corrupt actions which forged an enormous slur on their rule regardless of their altruistic motives. After the overthrow of the Gowon regime, Johnson was invariably out of energy as the brand new helmsman, Basic Muritala Ramat Mohammed appointed a brand new helmsman. A fee of enquiry was instituted to probe the actions of all of the twelve governors and he was among the many solely two discovered not responsible of not corruptly enriching himself whereas he held public workplace. This was certainly a breath of recent air and an affidavit to the truth that not all public officers are corrupt. There are nonetheless some exceptions to the rule and he was definitely certainly one of them – an important position mannequin who didn’t taint his extremely cherished household identify for the ephemeral thrill of filthy lucre.
He went into personal enterprise afterwards and was appointed a Director in Julius Berger in 1979 and Chairman in 1996 the place he served meritoriously until 2009 – fourty years of unparallel service to the foremost development big in Nigeria.
He was typically a fairly quiet man as he stored politics at bay and hardly commented on nationwide points preferring to get pleasure from his early retirement from the army on the age of thirty-nine in utter solitude. His autobiography: My lifetime of service with integrity: the making of an icon is an excellent learn and needs to be devoured voraciously by all aspiring public workplace holders.
We urge the Lagos State authorities to immortalize him by naming some necessary monuments after him as an emblem of encouragement to sincere and hardworking public workplace holders. It’s unhappy that in his lifetime no monument of significance within the state he served so faithfully was named after him. We must always study to rejoice our heroes whereas they nonetheless breathe as an alternative of shedding crocodile tears once they transit to the nice past. It’s nonetheless not too late for the federal government to do one thing about holding his recollections everlasting.
Could his mild soul discover repose within the Bosom of the Lord and should he relaxation from his life’s labours.
Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos and edits www.africanbard.com
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