Mr. Buhari’s gesture followed a request by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to have the 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, Abba Kyari, to Mr. Ambode.
In a statement on Sunday signed by Lagos State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, Mr. Ambode said the president’s gesture was a demonstration of 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, Mr. Ambode has consequently unveiled plans to turn the lodge to The Heritage Centre for Leadership, which would 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,” Mr. Ambode said.
“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.”
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, 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.
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