By Perpetua Egesimba
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has pledgeds that his administration would continue to preserve cultural and historical sites across the state.
He said the state government would develop such sites to international standards in order to boost tourism, employment and leisure.
The governor made the remarks at the inauguration of the Tinubu Square fountain on Lagos Island. He spoke through the Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Adebimpe Akinsola.
Ambode recalled that the monument was erected in memory of a valiant woman, Madam Efunroye Tinubu, the first Iyalode of Egbaland and one of the greatest merchants in colonial Lagos. He noted that the event was a celebration of her exploits in the business world and contributions to the present status of Lagos in commerce.
“Historical monuments like this will continue to give a facelift and outlook to Lagos. The decision to renovate this monument was informed by the need to upgrade it to a level that befits the status of Lagos Central Business District. It is part of the plan of this administration to develop the Marina and Onikan axis to world class tourist destinations,” Ambode said.
He stated that government had put in place a maintenance programme for the site, adding that it was not going to be like before: “The conversation has been on transforming Lagos to be the tourism hub of Africa and the state is moving towards that direction, as people in the Diaspora can now come to the site for relaxation, take pictures and see the level of commerce in the state.
“When people come to Lagos and do business here, our revenue increases. By time we finish the transformation of Onikan and Marina axis, people will be coming from all over the place and this will bring economic growth. This is what we are targeting.”
He explained that relaxation at the Tinubu Square fountain was free, urging the people to report to the authorities if anybody asked them for money for visiting the spot. He appealed to residents to cooperate with the state in the protection of the site against vandalism.
The contractor, Kenny Adamson, said the initial job was done in 2006 and launched in May 2007.
“The square contains a huge statue of Madam Efunroye Tinubu, who was a market leader and a merchant. Also, the blind drummer, Kokoro, was well known to Lagosians as a street entertainer. There are other sculptures and a wall relief,” he said.
Adamson noted that after the unveiling of the square in 2007, his company was also required to maintain it for two years before handing it over to the Lagos State government through Julius Berger Plc. He regretted that the monument was abandoned thereafter. Adamson disclosed that Ambode again commissioned his firm to renovate the facility, which has been achieved.
The Sole Administrator, Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area, Mr. Abiola Aare, appreciated the governor for the work on the facility, saying that residents of Lagos Island East would be eternally grateful for his vision and passion about community development and preserving the state’s historical heritage.