…As Quadri Emerges First Nigerian To Win Championship
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday expressed excitement over the emergence of first Nigerian to win the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Seamaster Challenge, assuring that the State Government would support the tournament in a bigger edition in 2019.
Speaking to journalists after watching the finals of the tournament tagged ITTF Nigeria Open 2018 held at Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere where Nigerian table tennis star, Aruna Quadri emerged victorious, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying to note the remarkable improvement in this year’s edition of the championship, saying that next year’s edition would be more exciting.
He said: “This is a major improvement from last year’s competition and again for the very first time in the last six years, we found a Nigerian winning the men’s singles and this brings a lot of excitement for me because I have been supporting table tennis and I know that next year’s tournament will be more exciting than this.
“As a government, we are going to put more support; we put more financial support so that we can attract more people and also encourage more Nigerians to participate. You know we actually gave bonus to Nigerians that have qualified and that is also to encourage more of our own local players to compete internationally,” Governor Ambode said.
He particularly assured that the State Government would put efforts in place to host the tournament in a bigger hall to encourage more participation, just as he assured that the programmes of his administration for sports development in the State were on course.
“We have a master programme to encourage sports in Lagos State and people would see it as it is unfolding. You can see that we are reconstructing Onikan Stadium; we are going to Ajegunle to do another Sports Complex there and I don’t want to overpromise but I can assure that next year, we are going to do this tennis tournament in a bigger hall that can take 16 sets at the same time and also take maybe about 5,000 fans at the same time,” Governor Ambode said.
Quadri emerged victorious after defeating his opponent from France, Harchard Antoine to win $5,000. The Nigerian also won another $200 courtesy of the fair play award which was also awarded to him.
Also, the best Nigerian home-grown player of the tournament, Jamiu Anyawale was rewarded with cash gift of $200.
Responding, Quadri thanked the fans who supported him all the way to win the tournament, saying the victory could not have been possible without their support.
“If not for my fans that supported me all the way, this victory would not have been possible and so I want to thank the people for standing by me,” Quadri said.
Antonie, who is from France, was rewarded with $2,500 for emerging as the first runner up of the men’s singles, while Guo Yan from China went home with $5,000 for winning the women’s singles. Her fellow compatriot, Sun Chen was awarded with $2,500 for emerging as the first runner up of the women’s singles.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun on Thursday led other eminent Nigerians to celebrate the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant, Chief Akintola Williams who clocked 99, describing him as a true Nigerian who worked assiduously to lift up the country.
Speaking to reporters at a special birthday reception held in honour of Williams at his Lagos residence, Governor Ambode described the celebrant as the doyen of accountancy profession and elder statesman who deserved to be celebrated for his contribution to the growth and development of the country.
According to the Governor, “The main reason why we are here is to celebrate a true Nigerian and for somebody who has actually contributed to the development of Nigeria and he is still alive at 99, is worth celebrating and this is like a prelude to the centenary that we are waiting to celebrate next year, and that is why you can see that Ogun State Governor is here too.
“Apart from the fact that Chief Akintola Williams is the Doyen of the Accountancy Profession, we see him as a founding father of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); he is also the founding father of the Musical Society of Nigeria. So, he has too many parts and this is one Nigerian that we are proud of and we are willing to celebrate him every day,” Governor Ambode said.
He particularly commended Williams for his role in the development of Lagos, saying the State Government would continue to celebrate true Nigerians like him.
“That I am here today is more or less to say a big thank you to him for lifting up Lagos; for lifting up Nigeria and we also wish him well on behalf of all Lagosians. We will continue to celebrate true Nigerians and he (Chief Williams) is just one true Nigerian, an elder statesman that we should all be proud of,” Governor Ambode said.
Responding, Williams appreciated all those who found time to be with him on his special day, and wished them long life as well.
Aside Governors Ambode and Amosun, other eminent Nigerians at the event include former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); first Military Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; foremost banker and founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun; legal luminary and philanthropist, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo; former ICAN Presidents, among other captains of industries and members of the diplomatic corps.
Wife of the governor of Lagos State, Bolanle Ambode, has again reminded nursing mothers and pregnant women the importance of exclusive breast-feeding of newborn babies.
She disclosed this during a telephone interview on the occasion of this year’s World Breast-feeding Week, held in the first week of August every year.
Bolanle noted that the benefits of breast milk to the infant were too profound to be ignored, as it was an important foundation for a baby’s life, capable of determing whether the baby would live or otherwise.
She said putting a baby to the breast in the first hour of life was a major safeguard against infant’s death, adding that exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months, help them to grow, prevents under nutrition, promotes brain development while reducing the risk of overweight.
She said further that breast milk was vital because it acts as the baby’s first vaccine, boosting its immunity.
According to her, “Nothing can compare to the breast milk, no matter the nutritional value of the baby formula, it cannot adequately take the place of breast milk in the life of the new born”.
“God who created it in His own special way to be baby-friendly, has made it the most important and most beneficial type of food a baby gets to know. Nursing mothers should not make excuses of their jobs or career for not doing exclusive breastfeeding because the advantages to the baby are too many”, she submitted.
The governor’s wife commended the theme for this year: “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life”, describing it as the basic truth about the practice.
She explained further that breastfeeding was good bonding between mother and infant, adding that improved breastfeeding practices around the world, could save the lives of nearly one million children under five years, according to international health bodies.
…To Explore Another 5,000-Capacity Terminal In Ijanikin
…Extends Egan-Agric Road Project To Ayobo, Orders Palliative Work On Ikotun-Ijegun, Others
…Inspects Ongoing Projects Across The State
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday flagged off the expansion of the ABAT Truck Terminal in Orile Iganmu, assuring that work would be accelerated on the 1000-capacity terminal to take trucks parked indiscriminately on the roads and bridges.
Governor Ambode, who led an extensive inspection of ongoing projects across the State that last for about six hours, said the expansion of the Terminal was one of the resolutions reached at the recent meeting with stakeholders, especially in the Maritime sector on finding lasting solutions to take containerized trucks permanently off the roads, a development that is majorly responsible for the gridlock in the Apapa area.
The Governor said: “One of the resolutions is that we should have authorised truck Terminal Park and so my visit to this place today is to flag off the reconstruction of this terminal so that we can accommodate 1000 trucks.
“We would do this in collaboration with the Nigeria Ports Authority so that the call-up system can work efficiently. The expansion we are adding to this particular terminal in which we have decided to acquire the adjoining land, we would use that primarily for non-petroleum trucks so that we can sectionalized these trucks and allow the call-up system to work.
“This is just part of the efforts that the State Government is making to make sure this Apapa gridlock and the truck menace becomes a thing of the past permanently.”
Governor Ambode also disclosed that the State Government has concluded plans to utilise an expanse of land in Ijanikin area with a capacity to accommodate at least 5,000 trucks.
“I have just been briefed that we have an additional land space in Ijanikin that can accommodate 5000 trucks. We will explore that possibility immediately; all that we are doing is just to make sure that there is a permanent solution to this whole idea of trucks destroying our bridges and roads,” he said.
While appealing to Lagosians for their understanding, the Governor said that within the next six to eight weeks, the Terminals would be up and running to get the trucks off the roads and bridges within the axis.
Governor Ambode said aside the expansion of the Terminal, the commitment by the Federal Government to commence the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway was on course with the approval of N72.9billion by the Federal Executive Council for the project.
“You would recall that about two weeks ago, we had a stakeholders’ meeting with the Vice President presiding in Apapa and at that meeting, we resolved that we would ensure that the reconstruction of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway would be awarded within two weeks which has been fulfilled by the Federal Government; they have awarded the contract and construction should commence within the next two weeks.
“We thank the President, Vice President, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, and that of Transport for reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and the rail track from Apapa Ports to Ibadan which is strictly a cargo rail that would assist in moving heavy-duty goods away from the Apapa axis,” he said.
Besides, Governor Ambode said his administration was also looking at utilizing barges on the waterways to move heavy cargo as a way of complementing efforts on road and rail transportation system.
“I just think Lagosians will have the relief to see that we have actually done what is right and in their overall interest.
“I want to thank all the stakeholders for their interest and we must continue to join hands like I said and we would get the results that we so desire,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of stakeholders, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi said the flag off of the expansion of ABAT Truck Terminal by the Governor was a new dawn towards addressing the Apapa gridlock.
According to him, “Today, I must say is a beginning of a good thing that will start happening in our sector as haulage operators in the State. Today is the beginning of a new era as far as Lagos State is concerned.
“We have been saying it that our Governor is an action Governor and his coming here today has shown that he is very dynamic and pragmatic. This is what we have been expecting and for the Governor to be here to see things for himself and flag off the rehabilitation and expansion of this terminal shows that he is not only talking but matching words with action,” Ogungbemi said.
He expressed optimism that the steps taken by the State Government would go a long way to end the menace of trucks parking on roads and bridges in the State.
Earlier, the Governor had inspected the progress of work on the modern bus terminals in Yaba and Oyingbo, as well as the failed section of Sari Iganmu Road which had been abandoned for over two years, assuring scores of residents, who trooped out to welcome him, that contractors would move in to fix it within the next two weeks, while their blocked canal would also be cleared.
The Governor and his team also inspected the ongoing palliative work embarked upon to fix the bad sections of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
While inspecting the progress of work on the Egan-Agric Road Project which is an access road to the ongoing Egan-Igando Housing Scheme, Governor Ambode said the project would be extended to Ayobo to serve as alternative route to decongest the Lasu-Iba Road to ease movement and further make life comfortable to the people.
He said the housing scheme, which had been on for about eight years, had largely been stalled due to the bad road in the axis, saying that the work would be accelerated, while interested residents would be allowed to benefit from the rent-to-own housing policy whereby the ownership of the scheme would be on monthly basis.
Besides, the Governor ordered immediate traffic signalization and palliative work on Ikotun-Ijegun Road, Abaranje, Isheri-Oshun, among other adjoining roads in the axis.
Addressing residents, Governor Ambode said: “We have received several complaints from this community about the deplorable state of the road from Ikotun to Ijegun, Abaranje and the other axis leading to Igando. I have come to see this place myself and beyond repairing the roads, we also need to do a lot of traffic management solutions here and so we are going to signalize Ikotun Junction and this particular junction immediately.
“Public Works Corporation should proceed to do palliative from the Ikotun Junction down to Ijegun, Abaranje and then we link it up to Igando. I know there are some complaints about Isheri-Oshun also. The part that we have finished there, we will look at that part and then from Isheri-Oshun down to link up this Ikotun-Ijegun Road and immediately carry out palliative now that the rain is subsiding,” the Governor said.
Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi on Thursday visited the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, revealing that work on the Apapa corridor of the Lagos-Ibadan Rail project would commence next week.
Amaechi, who spoke to journalists after a strategic meeting with the Governor and his team at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said it was gratifying to report that contractors would move to site to continue the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project from Apapa as part of efforts to bring about permanent solution to the perennial traffic gridlock in the axis.
He said: ‘You would recall that the Federal Government had commenced construction of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and the focus was more on the Ibadan and Abeokuta axis because we had challenges in Lagos which included utilities and not much with the communities and I think I have to commend the communities that allow us use their land though we would pay compensation but not much. So, we are grateful to all the communities from Lagos to Ibadan.
“However, we have utility challenges both gas pipes and water and beyond the gas pipes, we also have challenges with bridges to either build or demolish. I remember when we said we wanted to demolish the Costain Bridge, everybody screamed and we had to invite the Lagos Governor to assist us; he took us there and promised that he would pay the compensation.
“I like the fact that the Lagos State Government are also contributing to this whole efforts and so what we have come here to do is to ensure that there is a win-win situation and the Lagos Governor has been very cooperative. He cooperated all the way from the beginning till now and what we have decided is that CCECC should therefore move back to Lagos for construction to commence immediately in Lagos because we are insisting that by December, we should complete the Lagos-Ibadan Railway,” Amaechi said.
He said in addition to the rail projects, the Federal Government was also working on the roads, saying that the combination of the projects would facilitate seamless movement of cargos from Apapa.
“What we are trying to do there is to get a good road to evacuate cargos but it would be faster with the rail. So, while we are working hard to ensure that the rail is delivered by this year ending, the Federal Government has also awarded the contract to deal with the road from Apapa and Tin Can to enable us to evacuate cargos freely which is an addition to the rail,” Amaechi said.
Responding, Governor Ambode lauded the action of the Federal Government to commence work on the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project from the Apapa axis, expressing optimism that the development would go a long way to enhance movement of cargos from Lagos to other parts of the country.
“Lagosians would recollect that in the last three weeks, we have had issues with the Apapa gridlock and two times, Mr Vice President had actually visited Lagos and promised that a lot of remedies would take place.
“We want to use this platform to say a big thank you to Mr President and the Federal Executive Council for approving the reconstruction of the Tin Can-Apapa-Oshodi Expressway up to the Toll Gate which was done yesterday. This is in continuation of our efforts at finding permanent solutions to what has been happening in the Apapa axis.
“We also want to say a big thank you to the Minister of Transport and Minister of Works because the rail construction that is coming up and will commence in Lagos from next week is actually from the Apapa Ports up to the Ibadan axis which means that we are having a two-pronged approach to be able to cart away cargos from Lagos to other parts of the country,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor also commended the Federal Government for approving the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway as part of efforts to finding lasting solution to the perennial traffic gridlock around the axis.
He specially thanked President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, and indeed the entire members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), saying the State Government was grateful for their commitment to end the sufferings of the people in the State.
He said as a follow-up to the initiatives of the Federal Government, there would be a lot of additional construction works across the State especially from the Apapa axis including 10 over-passes to further reduce the sufferings of the people.
Besides, Governor Ambode reiterated the commitment of the State Government to collaborate with the Federal Government to implement impactful projects that would make life comfortable for the people.
“We just want to say that we reiterate the commitment to collaborate with the Federal Government as a State Government to ensure that we reduce the sufferings of Lagosians and I am happy that we have come out from this meeting stronger together with the Federal Ministry of Transport to make sure that this particular rail project is delivered within the next six to twelve months,” Governor Ambode said.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, at the end of Wednesday’s FEC meeting, had approved N72.9billion for the reconstruction of the road from Apapa to the Toll Gate on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.