By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has described the first military governor of Lagos State, Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson as an incorruptible, detribalised and humane public officer, whose death would be sorely missed.
In a release by his Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi on Thursday, following the death of the patriarch and elder statesman on Wednesday, Obasanjo further eulogized him to be a great man who wrote for himself an enviable page in history of this country.
All Progressives Congress National Leader and former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, also described the first military governor of the state, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson, who died on Wednesday, an essential Nigerian statesman and one of the true fathers of Lagos.
Obasanjo, who is in Istanbul, Turkey, when the news broke, said the late military governor was “a disciplined, detribalised, transparent and humane public officer with an enviable track record. He was highly respected by his peers and revered by his subordinates for his sound knowledge of the Public Service and wealth of experience in the civil service matters.
“He left behind an impeccable record of incorruptible leadership, a legacy of forthrightness, thoroughness and unwavering commitment to public good. I recall that he was a pillar of trust and an iconic reference point when in 1975 the Murtala/Obasanjo’s regime embarked on a clean sweep of the morally-bankrupt public service.
“He was, indeed, a great man who wrote for himself an enviable page in history with his service to the nation and humanity.
“It was with a personal sense of loss that I received this shocking and sad news of the demise of this beloved and illustrious patriarch and elderstatesman, Brig-Gen. Mobolaji Johnson, at the age of 83.
“The late Brig-Gen. Johnson was a diligent and conscientious soldier who served his nation with patriotic zeal and distinguished himself in many spheres of military and public life. He will certainly be remembered for his rare courage and contribution to the development of the Nigerian Army in which he rose to enviable heights.
“The admirable qualities of Brig-Gen. Johnson came to the fore when he became the first Military Administrator of former Federal Territory of Lagos under Maj-Gen. Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi and later as the Military Governor of Lagos State under General Yakubu Gowon where he saw to the building of major infrastructure in Lagos State and improved the lot of the civil servants and the entire citizens under his administration.
“Particularly of note was the level of steadfastness, patriotism and commitment he displayed during and after the Civil War in the late 60s. He distinguished himself as a patriot and seasoned soldier.
“It is only natural to feel sorely grieved at the painful and passing of a dearly loved patriarch who still had a lot to contribute not only to the family but also to the nation as a whole.
“I would urge, however, that at such a distressing time as this, we should keep faith in Almighty God who will surely give succour as well as the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“I pray for the peaceful repose of his gentle soul, the statement concluded.
Tinubu also described Johnson as a man of high integrity who served Lagos with dedication and determination. Brigadier-General Johnson died at 83.
In a condolence statement on Thursday issued by his Media Office, Asiwaju Tinubu 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.
He was always available to advise and extend a helping hand to successive regimes in Lagos and particularly to me during my time as governor.
“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 state Governors (along with Brigadier-General 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”.