The first Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd) passed on today, October 30, 2019 at the age of 83.
The late General who was the architect and builder of the state which remains the commercial capital of the Nigerian nation had battled ill-health for many years, and this was compounded by the death of his wife, Funmilayo a few years ago.
General Johnson, as an Army major, was first appointed the Military Administrator of Lagos Colony at the advent of the first military administration in 1966; and his first major act in government was the setting up of a committee to look into the possibility of creating a distinct state for Lagos.
The committee was headed by the late Dr Taslim Elias and comprised eminent citizens like Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Alhaji Femi Okunnu.
The committee, whose headship later changed to Alhaji Jakande when Dr Elias got an international appointment, recommended the creation of Lagos State, comprising the Lagos Colony and a chunk of the former Western region, namely Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu and Epe divisions of the state.
On the creation of Lagos State in 1967 by the Yakubu Gowon regime, Mobolaji Johnson was promoted Colonel and named the pioneer Military Governor of the new state.
His first cabinet comprised notable leaders of the defunct Action Group, NCNC and the NPC such as Alhaji Ganiyu Olawale Dawodu, from Lagos Division, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya from Ikorodu Division and Chief Senu B. Hundeyin from Badagry Division.
It is to General Johnson’s eternal credit that his administration built the Badagry Expressway and the Ikorodu – Itoikin single carriage way, the projects that launched Julius Berger construction company into prominence in Nigeria.