FG completes handing over of edifice
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Tuesday unveiled the grand plan of his administration to transform the Presidential Lodge, Marina to a national monument to be christened National Heritage Centre for Leadership.
He spoke about the stateâ€™s plan for the Presidential Lodge after he and Minister of Works, Power & Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, signed the final documents to perfect the handover of the edifice in Abuja.
The federal and Lagos State governments had on August 17, 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formally transferring ownership of the edifice to the state government.
The MoU was signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, and the Permanent Secretary, State House, Abuja, Mr. Jalal Arabi, ending 20 years of negotiation on the transfer of the national edifice.
The MoU paved the way for the final handover of the presidential lodge, which Ambode described as a testament of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to bring positive change to Lagos.
After signing the final documents, Ambode commended the president, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Fashola and Permanent Secretary in the Office of Chief of Staff to the President and other stakeholders who worked to ensure the final transfer to Lagos.
He noted that the state government was delighted â€œto be here on this historic day; on a day that actually finalises the intention of Mr. President to bring positive change to Lagos.
â€œWe want to sincerely appreciate President Buhari who has graciously approved that the Presidential Lodge be released to Lagos State and for the use of Lagos State. The minister just said we have been trying to get this asset for the last twenty years.
â€œWe are pleased that on a day like this. It is my predecessor and present Minister of Works who is now doing the final handing over of which he had also been part of that process to get this asset back to Lagos. But in Godâ€™s own doing, the minister is in the position to do the final documentation and we are very grateful for that.â€
Specifically, the governor noted that the final transfer was a sign of greater collaboration between Federal Government and Lagos State, thereby expressing optimism that it would be the beginning of process to get such assets back to Lagos State.
He, also, said the state government would put the edifice to good use and transform it into a national monument to boost tourism and grow the economy of Lagos and Nigeria.
â€œThis is a sign of greater things and greater collaboration between the Federal Government and Lagos State. We believe strongly that this singular gesture is part of what will improve the economy of Lagos because our intention is to turn that particular asset into a national monument.
â€œWe can christen it National Heritage Centre for Leadership. We will use it also as a tourist centre to bring Nigerians and foreigners to come to Nigeria and as well use it as a means of improving on the economy of Lagos State and Nigeria.
â€œI want to show my sincere appreciation to the minister. I hope that this particular event will bring more good stories as we continue to see how much we can strive to get some of these assets back to Lagos State,â€ the governor explained.
Also speaking at the event, Fashola congratulated the people of Lagos State for N1.04 trillion budget proposal, which Ambode presented to the State House of Assembly on Monday.
He noted that the budget proposal would improve quality service delivery to the people of the state.
He said the signing of the document which formally vest ownership of the Presidential Lodge, Marina in the state government was in fulfillment of Buhariâ€™s promise, saying it was gratifying that the long journey spanning about two decades had finally come to an end.
â€œThis is a long journey that has come to an end; a journey that has taken almost two decades when the Lagos State Government asked that the property be vested in Lagos but for reasons that remained difficult to understand it did not happen but the President of change who is a promise keeper has made it happen.â€
Other officials of the state government at the signing of the document included the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello; the Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and his counterpart in the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Mr. Adebowale Akinsanya.