LAGOS State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has unveiled plans to turn the erstwhile Presidential Lodge to Heritage Centre for Leadership.
This followed the approval of the handover of the Presidential Lodge, Marina to Lagos State by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The president’s approval was communicated in a letter signed by his Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari.
President Buhari’s gesture followed a request by Governor Ambode to have the Presidential Lodge released to the state government in its bid to transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a world-class arts and tourism hub.
In a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde, on Sunday, Governor Ambode expressed gratitude to President Buhari, for approving the handover of the Presidential Lodge in Marina to the state government.
He thanked President Buhari for his kind gesture and magnanimity, adding that the president’s large heart demonstrated 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 had consequently, unveiled plans to turn the erstwhile lodge to ‘The Heritage Centre for Leadership.’
It said this would subsequently be redesigned and equipped as a landmark research and tourist arena that would 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 Buhari for the hand-over of the Presidential Lodge in Marina to the 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 his campaign that the interest of Lagos people will always be paramount in his heart,” he said.
It added that 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, was also being prepared for a transformation to ‘The Lagos History Centre,’ as a mark of honour to and celebration of all former governors of the state.
It will be recalled that the state executive council had already approved the Lagos House Marina to be turned into Lagos History Centre for tourism purposes.
“With the handing over of the Presidential Lodge to Lagos State, the state government will begin a process that will transform the whole area into a cultural zone in the next two years that every Lagosian will be proud of.
“These two buildings will be nurtured as world-class monuments by the Lagos State government to compliment the ongoing larger plan that aims to transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a multi-sectorial cultural zone,” he said.