Lagos denies purported replacement of Gani, Abiola statues at Ojota parks

MKO Abiola
MKO Abiola

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday refuted reports that it was planning to replace the statues of Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, both deceased, at the Ojota parks with another monument.

It comes a day after the state joined others in the southwest to mark the 24th anniversary of the June 12, 1993 presidential election believed to have been won by Abiola.

Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Adebimpe Akinsola, while reacting to a media report that Lagos was planning to replace the statues, said the ongoing remodelling of both parks was to accommodate bigger sculptures of the two prominent Nigerians.

According to her, “Rather than replace the two conspicuous monuments, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture with the approval of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, commissioned group of artistes to remodel the entire park and erect a new but bigger, better and more aesthetic sculpture of the two prominent Nigerians for better appreciation of their contribution to the development of Nigeria”.

She said the government was already set to complete the remodelling of the Abiola Garden at Ojota with a new statue and water fountain to enhance the aesthetic value of the park for better appreciation by visitors and enhancement of the June 12 presidential election narrative.

The acting commissioner said the remodelling work on Abiola’s statue commenced late January 2017 and was presently about 70 percent completed.

She said the project also includes additional facilities such as a water fountain and a designated mini park, adding that the Fawehinmi sculpture also at Ojota was about 60 percent completed, while the park was being enhanced with another work of art called “The Possibility”.

Akinsola reiterated the resolve of the Ambode administration to change the face of Lagos with the ongoing erection of 29 artistic sculptures and monuments at strategic locations across the State.

She said while many of the new world-class creative monuments are at advance stages of completion, six of them completed and officially unveiled including the statues of the first settler in Lagos, Prince Olofin (erected at Ijora); the first King of Lagos, Prince Ado (erected at Moloney Junction, Lagos); Ojuloge (erected opposite the National Theatre), which celebrates and conveys the sense of beauty, grace, style and passion for fashion of Lagos women.

She listed other completed monuments including The Drummer (erected at Ipakodo, Ikorodu), which depicts the Yoruba music culture, Youth Empowerment (erected at Sabo Yaba), which depicts situations and resources the youths deploy to improve quality of life as well as The Fisherman (erected at Badagry junction) which depicts one of the occupations and heritage of the people of Badagry.