The demolished historical site

The demolished historical site

Elder statesman and politician, Bashorun J.K. Randle, has cried out over the demolition of three historical sites in Lagos bearing the Randle family name.

The demolished sites consisted of the Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall, Dr. J.K. Randle Swimming Pool and Dr J.K. Randle Love Garden.

He accused the Lagos State Government of plotting to wipe out the family’s name through the demolition of its property.

PUNCH Metro reports that the state physical planning ministry demolished some property allegedly belonging to the Randle family in the Onikan area of the state on Saturday during the environmental sanitation exercise.

Bashorun Randle, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on the telephone on Sunday, said he was called on the telephone by the security man who had been guarding the place for over 30 years, adding that by the time he got there, the property had been demolished.

He said the state government had no legal rights to the property.

“That place is our history ground. It represents the name of our family. Destroying property in the place is like destroying our heritage and the glorious contributions of our ancestors.

“Even if the state government wanted to do such a thing, the members of the family should have been informed. The guard, who had been living in the place for the past 30 years with his family members, was thrown out into the cold night; they are homeless now. The sad thing is that we were not notified about the demolition,” he stated.

Bashorun Randle explained that the hall, which belonged to the British Crown, was named after his father, Chief J.K. Randle, for his achievements, adding that the place was passed on to the Federal Government after independence.

He said his grandfather, Dr J.K. Randle, constructed the swimming pool and the love garden with his money, but handed them over to the Lagos City Council in 1928 to manage.

“My grandfather, Dr J.K. Randle, worked with the colonial government and due to the discrimination between blacks and whites, he resigned and became a pioneer medical doctor in Nigeria. He was successful and in 1908, he established the first political party, the People’s Union.

“In 1920, while in his house on 31 Marina, he saw the way people were taking canoe across long distances, which was their only means of transportation. When there were major boat accidents, a lot of people died.

“So, he felt if those people could learn how to swim, more of them would survive any boat mishap. With his personal money, he built the swimming pool and handed it over to the council to run in 1928. He also left money for the maintenance of the place in his will. Most of the people in our generation learnt to swim in the J.K. Randle swimming pool.

“The same goes for the love garden, which was to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in the society and make life fun for everyone in Lagos. He also handed this over to the council for maintenance. Unfortunately, the place was left to deteriorate,” he said.

He said the family had approached the state government to renovate the site, adding that the government ignored the family.

He lamented that the government, without seeking the approval of the Randle family, gave out part of the love garden.

Bashorun Randle, who said the family had made several contributions to the growth and development of the state, wondered why the contributions had not been recognised.

“And now, they have demolished the legacies of our ancestors, who wanted the best for Lagos; it is an abomination. If you have a master plan you are trying to follow, you should use your own property and not somebody else’s property. This is not the change we voted for,” he added.

He said the family had sought an audience with the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, adding that the family was told that the governor had travelled.

The Lagos State government is yet to comment on the claim by Basorun Randle or state its reason for demolishing the historical sites.