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The Story Of Mobolaji Johnson, The Ex-Governor Who Developed Lagos With 10,000 Pounds (Throwback)

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The story has been told Mobolaji Johnson, the Ex-Governor who developed Lagos state with 10,000 pounds. 

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Mobolaji Johnson at his youth days.

While kids were going to school, Mobolaji Johnson couldn't walk at age four due to diarrhoea that almost took his life. 

At age 31, he was selected as the military chairman of Lagos, and he therefore turned to the 1st Lagos state Governor. 

Johnson, at various occasions in his life, had close encounters with death in car crashes, including the coups and execution that was famous in the military era. 

On a Wednesday, he surrendered to the desire of his creator at the age of 83, three years after he lost his better half, Funmi, whom he wedded at 26. 

Beyond the dramatization of the military time, the retired armed force brigadier-general recorded significant accomplishments in infrastructural improvement as Lagos helmsman, some of which are still noticeable till date. 


Conceived February 9, 1936, in Lagos, Johnson encountered a difficult youth as he combat his life with diarrhoea, which kept him struggling for the initial four years of his life, and which made his mom, Gbemisola, his nonstop guardian. 

"As a kid, I had a problem with moving with my feet. I was unable to walk until age four. Actually, that caused a delay in schooling," he narrated via an interview. 

"She said I had awful diarrhoea when I was about age 1, and it almost ended my life. They came across people who said I should be given herbal medicines. However, I didn't take the home grown medication. That was the motivation behind why my mom couldn't leave to do some other things. 

"I was around five years of age. I went to Methodist Secondary School Yaba in 1946. Later went yo Warri to proceed with my education. I did just a single year there and my mom said the separation was excessively. At that point, transportation was via ocean." 

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A record photograph of Royal West African Frontier Force 

He left the Hussey College in Warri and came back to Methodist Boys High School Lagos where he was viewed as a balanced athlete until he graduated in 1957. 


As an understudy, Johnson said he would sell bread for his mom in the first part of the day and groundnut toward the evening. However, that didn't frustrate his enthusiasm for education. 

"Even when I was going to class, I was all the while accomplishing some family unit work. I was certainly not a spoilt youngster since I was selling for her in the city of Yaba. She was a baker," he narrated. 

"In this way, I was assisting with selling bread toward the beginning of the day and toward the evening, since her sister who was in the North sent her groundnuts. I put them in my tray toward the evening and helped her in selling them." 


As indicated by him, his dad, Joshua Omotola, motivated him to join the military. His dad hailed from Abeokuta in Ogun state and was a member from the Royal West African Frontier Force during World War II. 

His granddad's last name is Osholero, yet he transformed it to Johnson out of respect for the clergy who changed him over to Christianity. 

At 21, Johnson joined the military and continued to the official cadet training school in Ghana. He additionally went to the Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, the United Kingdom between 1960-1961. 

"I selected the military. I saw the photo of my dad who was in the Second World War and rose to the position of a sergeant with his belt," he said. 

"I saw his photo where he was looking so attractive and I saw that photo and stated, at some point, I'm going to put on this uniform as well. Thus, that was the impact I had before going into the military." 


Johnson was, by and far, a powerful figure in the military during his time. He was aware of the Aburi meeting in Ghana before the civil war and was one of the government delegates at the function to stamp the end of that war. 

Johnson was appointed as the military chairman of the government capital region, Lagos in 1966 by Aguiyi Ironsi, who was the head of state around then. At the point when it was made a state in 1967, he served as the 1st Governor until July 1975. 

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Johnson with Ambode, previous Governor of Lagos during his 80th birthday. 

Johnson said in a meeting he heard about the first couo from Murtala Mohammed after it had occurred. 

"Indeed, if you return to the 1st overthrow, which was on January 15, 1966, you discover that I was not part of the coup. But, I was in a vital situation to know a little of what occurred. I didn't have the foggiest idea about the mind of the coup plotters, however I knew enough of what was happening," he said. 

"I went to the brigade central command, where I was the second in order to Ifeajuna at Apapa. The door was opened for me and Murtala Muhammed mentioned to me what had occurred. The minister of finance, Okoti Eboh and the detachment authority couldn't be seen. So that was the means by which I became more acquainted with about it. 

"I don't think the civil war was avoidable." 

Following quite some years of working across various military formations in the nation, he was mandatorily retired in 1975 by the late Murtala Mohammed during his tenure as head of state. He was one of the two military officials absolved of defilement accusations by the Mohammed regime. 

Beginning THE LAGOS LEGACY WITH £10,000 

With others of Adeniran Ogunsanya, Akin Adesola, Babs Williams, Johnson Agiri and Ganiyu Dawodu in his regime, the war veteran began building leagcy infrastructural projects in the state. 

"The appointment came unexpectedly upon me as a young man and I needed to take it. I accepting it as a test and confronted it unequivocally," he disclosed. 

"Lagos State was created as a child circumstances. It was an unassuming entirety of 10,000 pounds. That was what I utilized in beginning Lagos state." 

His regime was eminent for executing milestone construction work, building up the civil service and setting up an outline for the state. A portion of the streets developed during his regime includes the Lagos-Badagry interstate connecting Nigeria with neighboring nations, for example, Benin, Ghana and Togo; Ito-Ikin connect connecting Epe to Ikorodu and Apapa Oshodi express way. 


To manage with housing crisis, with owners exploiting occupants attributable to the rise in population in the state, Johnson presented the house lease edict and controlled how much landowners could take from tenants. 

"The landowners were shylocks; they were misusing the blast in populace by requesting high rents from occupants. The owners were charging very high rents. Along these lines, we sat down and organised a committee that investigated into of houses and accommodation as the areas," he said. 

"Obviously, for evident reasons, you can't compare a room in Ajegunle with, a room in Victoria Island or Ikoyi. Along these lines, we thought of a declaration, specifying classes of houses and what landowners will take as rents on their structures." 


After his retirement from the military, Johnson turned into a director with Julius Berger, and later, he was appointed as director of the construction firm 1996 – 2009. 

Until his passing, the ex-fighter didn't view himself as a rich man. 

"Its individuals that will discussion of the legacy that I deserted in the administration of Lagos. Lagos that I know is the previous capital of Nigeria and the centre of excellence. I had done my part. History will adjourn me," he revealed . 

He is survived by four children. 

Johnson is married to Funmi, his better half, who died in February, 2016.

He did a lot of incredible thing which we are not a lightened here. But his legacy lives forever. The blue prints he outline is still the reason Lagos state is roaring very high still date.

The Ex-Governor Mobolaji Johnson Legacy can't be forgotten especially among Lagosians, also has a great impact in Nigeria as well, serving as a military man and also as a governor his legacy lives forever.

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Source: opera.com
The views expressed in this article are the writer's, they do not reflect the views of Opera News. Read more>>
Top Comments
DeboShowemimo · 06/28/2020
Molaji Johnson was one of a very few scandal-free former governors.

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