The Federal Government on Tuesday completed a process of about 20 years for the surrender of the State House in Marina to the Lagos State Government.
This happened with the signing and exchanging of documents between the state government and the Federal Government in Abuja.
The edifice, which was a pre-Independence structure, is one of the federal government’s properties in Lagos State that are allegedly not being fully utilised.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2016 approved the handing over of the State House, turned presidential lodge to the Lagos government.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had made a formal request to the Presidency to have the presidential lodge to be released to Lagos to enable the state to transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a world-class arts and tourism hub.
At the take over of the structure on Tuesday, while Governor Ambode signed for the state government, his predecessor now Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, signed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Recall that the Federal Government had in August 17 handed over the Presidential Lodge, Marina to the Lagos State Government.
Permanent Secretary, State House Abuja, Mr Jalal Arabi, and Secretary to the Lagos State Government, SSG, Mr Tunji Bello, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the formal handover of the lodge to the Lagos State government.
Arabi said at the time, “We are gathered here to transfer the State House, Marina to the Lagos State Government and it is all in the spirit of togetherness, the same Nigeria, unity for a purpose.
“Nothing has changed and nothing is lost”.
While receiving the State House, Bello commended Buhari for his statesman-like gesture in releasing the edifice to Lagos.
He said that handing over of the edifice was an affirmation of the healthy intergovernmental relationship existing between the Federal and Lagos State Government.
The SSG assured the presidency that the state government would put the edifice to the best and most judicious use, “ensure its transformation without compromising its structural integrity and preserve its architectural finesse”.
“We will ensure that the edifice becomes a tourist destination which residents of Lagos, in particular and Nigerians in general, will not only be proud of, but compares to similar ones in distant locations,” he stated.