The original Banana Island construction project entitled Lagoon City was the brainchild of the Late Chief Adebayo Adeleke, a University of London trained Civil Engineer (MICE), and CEO of City Property Development Ltd.
Chief Adebayo Adeleke had originally commissioned a new urban development in Maroko, Victoria Island, but that project had been ‘acquired’ by the Lagos State government with no financial consideration paid. Following a lengthy 10 year court case, Lagos State government offered other parcels of land as consideration for the Maroko development.
Many scoffed at Chief Adeleke’s decision to select the Ikoyi Island perimeter, however they were unable to appreciate the foresight of the Chief, who promptly engaged the Westminster Dredging Company to dredge the foreshore, and create six interlinked and symmetrical islands.
He wanted to create a development that would “Make Nigeria Proud”, and engaged Minoru Yamasaki the architect of Manhattan’s Twin Towers, to design replica twin towers as the flagship iconic buildings on the main island.
To complete the Lagoon City concept, Chief Adeleke planned an aesthetic design including a City Airport, which was a vision conceived long before the London Docklands Development, London City Airport, Dubai’s Palm Islands or Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport.
Unfortunately for the Chief, as soon as he had reclaimed the land and the brilliance of the idea was unveiled, others were determined to wrestle the land from him, and the project was ‘acquired’ again with no consideration being paid to City Property Development Limited. The ‘acquisition’ is currently being challenged in various courts, and there are Caveat Emptor warnings in place to warn prospective buyers that their investment could be at risk in future. There is also litigation pending in the UK and European courts regarding this matter.
The subsequent developers were principally interested in maximising the yield of the land at the expense of the aesthetic innovative design foreseen by Chief Adebayo Adeleke. Consequently, the land was filled in to create a banana shaped island, which has resolutely failed to achieve any international iconic architectural acclaim, as it is now a residential scheme rather than the commercial development originally envisaged.