The President’s gesture followed a request by Governor Ambode to have the presidential lodge released to the Lagos State Government in its bid to transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a world-class arts and tourism hub.
The President’s approval was communicated in a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, to Governor Ambode.
In a statement signed by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Governor Ambode thanked the President for his kind gesture and magnanimity, saying the President’s large heart demonstrates his “keen admiration for Lagos State as the Centre of Excellence that is well suited to becoming Africa’s foremost hub for arts, entertainment and tourism.”
The statement said with the presidential approval, Governor Ambode has consequently unveiled plans to turn the erstwhile lodge to The Heritage Centre for Leadership, which would subsequently be redesigned and equipped as a landmark research and tourist arena that will be open to local and international visitors.
“On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his kind hand-over of the Presidential Lodge in Marina to the Lagos State government. This, in my opinion, demonstrates the President’s special interest in Lagos State, which is in line with the promise he made in Lagos during the electioneering campaign, that the interest of Lagosians will always be paramount in his heart”, Governor Ambode said.
It added that the President Buhari’s approval had come at a time that the old Lagos State House in Marina, which is next door to the Presidential Lodge, is also being prepared for a transformation to The Lagos History Centre, as a mark of honour to and celebration of all former governors of Lagos State, as well as for the benefit of humankind as a whole.
The State Executive Council has already approved the Lagos House Marina to be turned into Lagos History Centre for tourism purposes.
In addition, Governor Ambode said the axis would also accommodate a Tourist Welcome Centre that comprises of a multi layer car park, mall, Lagos Aquarium Centre and other tourist facilities.