Lagos Marathon: Ethiopians Dislodge Kenyans As Winners Of Top Prizes

Lagos Marathon: Ethiopians Dislodge Kenyans As Winners Of Top Prizes

…Ambode Gifts Upcoming Artiste N2,5m, Says Road Race Has Come To Stay

…As Over 100,000 Athletes From 58 Countries Participate In 2019 Edition  

 

East Africans on Saturday retained their dominance of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon carting away the star prizes in the male and female categories of $50,000 each.

 

This time around, however, an Ethiopian, Sintatehu Legese won the star prize of $50, 000 in the male category finishing the race in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 28 seconds to beat defending champion, Joshua Kiprotich from Kenya who breast the tape in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 16 seconds to emerge first runner up with a prize money of $40,000.

 

Kiprotich’s compatriot, William Yegon came third in the time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and four seconds, winning $30,000.

 

In the female category, it was a clean sweep for Ethiopia as the trio of Meseret Dinke, Alemenesh Herpha Guta and Kebena Chala finished first, second and third to win $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.

 

Gideon Goyet was the first Nigerian to cross the finishing line in 2 hours, 30 minutes to win N3million, beating last year’s champion, Iliya Pam to second place, with a prize money of N2million.

 

Speaking while presenting prizes to the winners, Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said it was gratifying that the marathon was getting bigger and better yearly, adding that the competition had come to stay.

 

He specifically appreciated all Lagosians for cooperating with government to ensure success of the tournament each year since it began four years ago, saying the initiative was basically in line with the determination of his administration to use sports, tourism and entertainment to promote Lagos and grow the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

“I want to say a big thank you to all Lagosians for tolerating us in the last four years because this is the fourth time we are doing this Lagos Access Marathon and it has been improving year in, year out. This year, we had 58 countries participating and over 100,000 athletes also taking part in this journey.

 

“The marathon is part of our administration’s initiative to use sports, tourism, entertainment, arts and culture to promote the excellence of Lagos and positively engage the youth. The competition has been getting bigger and better yearly and this year’s edition is exceptional being that it attracted highest participation worldwide and increase in the number of athletes and prizes,” Governor Ambode said.

 

While expressing optimism that the marathon would be sustained, Governor Ambode urged Lagosians to vote for all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming general elections from the Presidency to National Assembly and at the State levels.

 

“I believe strongly that what we have started will be continued by the APC gubernatorial candidate, Jide Sanwo-Olu when he comes in and I believe strongly also that this will take the GDP of Lagos to greater heights.

 

“Remember next Saturday is presidential election. You know where my heart is and that is four plus four; that is where we are going to be. On March 2nd also, we do the same thing which is to vote all APC candidates in the State. God bless all Lagosians; I love all of you and I remain yours forever,” the Governor said.

 

Besides, Governor Ambode also used the occasion to donate N2.5million to an upcoming artiste, Johnson David who was called to perform on stage from the crowd by Nigerian hip-hop star, D Banj.

 

“We just want to say a big thank you to D Banj for the opportunity to bring out this kind of talent impromptu. I was just going to say D Banj should mentor him and in addition to that, my initial contribution is to give him N2.5million.

 

“This is what the Lagos story is all about –if you can dream it, you can make it happen. So, he must have been dreaming it and today he has gotten the access to the Lagos Access Bank Marathon and today, he is a changed person.

 

“So, this is what we have always been saying; the future belongs to all these young people and you can see that all of you are almost in the same age bracket and this is what the future of Lagos is and what we want to preach and continue to preach that every person can have that opportunity to make it in life,” he said.

 

The high point of the event was various performances by a-list artistes including Teni, CDQ, Slim Case, Olamide and D Banj who equally seized the opportunity to commend Governor Ambode for initiating and implementing the platform of the marathon and for his achievements in office in the last three and half years.

 

 

Governor Ambode Receives Torch Of Unity For 2019 National Sports Festival

Governor Ambode Receives Torch Of Unity For 2019 National Sports Festival

 Says Sports Remains Veritable Tool For Nigeria’s Unity, Cohesion

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday received the Torch of Unity to herald the forthcoming 19th National Sports Festival coming up in Abuja next month, saying that sports remains a veritable tool to engender the unity and cohesion the nation actually needs.

Speaking at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja after receiving the torch, the Governor said he was glad that the Festival after the last edition hosted by Lagos in 2012 was staging a grand comeback, adding that the State would send a strong contingent of athletes and coaches to the Festival, assuring that representatives of the State would be given all the adequate welfare to excel at the games.

“It is my pleasure to receive the festival torch of unity and this signals the commencement of the 19th National Sports Festival that would take place in Abuja. Just like what we have been told, the last National Sports festival was held here in Lagos six years ago and being the last host, this is the last point of call before the torch goes back to Abuja.

“We have a very strong contingent that we are sending to the festival because we believe strongly that sports is a veritable tool that we can use to command the unity and the cohesion that this nation actually needs at this time.

“I believe strongly that we are not just supporting alone, we believe that all the laurels and winning positions would be taken by Lagos State. On behalf of all our sports men and women, I want to encourage them and assure that we would make their entire stay in Abuja comfortable,” the Governor said.

Governor Ambode also seized the occasion to encourage politicians to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship in the coming general elections, saying that beyond winning at the polls, the real essence of the exercise is to create a stronger bond and cohesion among Nigerians.

He said like sports where winners and losers would emerge after every competition, those vying for several positions in next year’s election should embrace such mindset.

According to him, “Just like any other competition, we are in a period of campaign and election that is coming, it is competitive, but this is unlike national sports were everybody comes with the spirit of unity and we believe strongly that our politicians should emulate our sports men and women, were we should be able to come with the spirit of sportsmanship, there would be winners and losers but in participating, we are creating that bond and cohesion amongst ourselves.”

Also speaking Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Kweku Tandor said Lagos State would be represented at the Festival by 442 male and female athletes, 81 coaches and 50 other officials including welfare and medicals.

He said the contingent from Lagos would be made up of athletes that have been training and taking part in State organised competitions over the years, adding that it would be profitable on the long run rather than looking for foreign based professionals.

“One of the things that we have refused to do in Lagos is to go all over the world and start looking for athletes to represent us because for us we see the festival not just as a competition, but we see it as a developmental tool and it’s for us, a measure of the work that we have been doing over the years in developing our athletes,” he said.

Earlier, South West Zonal Coordinator, National Sports Festival, Mr. Olufemi Ajao who presented the Torch of Unity to the Governor, thanked him for according them hospitality, saying that he was hopeful that the State would host the festival again soon.

“The torch has been going round the country, it has been to the 36 States and Abuja. Lagos being the host of the last Sports Festival, the torch has to leave Lagos for Abuja straight away.

“You can remember that after Lagos State hosted, it has been about six years now that we have been postponing it. But with this torch now, it shows that the festival has come to stay, there is no more postponement. I will plead with the Governor if Lagos can host the festival again so that we can come and enjoy the hospitality and the rich culture of Lagos State,” he said.

Governor Ambode Unveils 46-Feet Statue of M.K.O Abiola In Lagos

Governor Ambode Unveils 46-Feet Statue of M.K.O Abiola In Lagos

…Says Monument’ll Forever Preserve Legacy, Greatness of Late Symbol of Democracy

…We’re Eternally Grateful To You, Family Tells Gov

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday unveiled a 46-feet statue of Nigeria’s symbol of democracy and adjudged winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Bashorun Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), expressing optimism that the monument will forever crystallize what he stood for in his lifetime.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the unveiling of the statue at the MKO Abiola Garden in Alapere, Ketu said it was in the tradition of the State Government to recognise and remember heroes and heroines who contributed to the greatness of the nation and the State in particular, adding that MKO Abiola deserves the best from the State as Lagos was his success story.

Alluding to the fact that a statue was previously sited at the location, the Governor said that his administration decided to erect bigger statues for MKO Abiola and late Rights Activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi to properly situate their immense contribution to nation building.

“There was a statue done by my predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola but in the divine world, some things are more glorious than what you think and so we decided at the end of 2016 that we should do bigger statues for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and MKO Abiola since almost everybody passing and entering Lagos go through this particular Ojota axis and so we started late in 2016 that we should build something bigger and so it took us about a year to do this. By the time we did the one for Gani to celebrate his posthumous birthday on April 22, we also agreed that we should unveil that of MKO Abiola today, June 12.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-12 at 2.27.20 PM

“But just as if God has a way of crowning all efforts to mark the 25th Anniversary of June 12, our President, President Muhammadu Buhari has deemed it fit to give our own MKO Abiola the highest honour in the land, GCFR and that is why we believe strongly that your presence here is not just for this statue but it is also historic which we would always remember in the annals of the history and politics of this country that sooner than later, there would be one day we would mark as MKO Abiola Day.

“We are very happy to gather here today at the MKO Abiola garden to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallize his legacy, serves as a reminder to the greatness that Chief Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape,” the Governor said.

He described MKO Abiola as a man who transcended race, tribe and religion, adding that the late philanthropist appealed to all Nigerians who voted massively for him during the 1993 Presidential election.

“Sadly, he lost his life trying to secure his mandate. Even though he was from another State, Lagos was his home. And we recognize his contribution to our State and our democracy,” Governor Ambode said.

Responding on behalf of the family, MKO Abiola’s son, Abdul Mumuni Abiola thanked Governor Ambode and the Lagos State Government for the honour done the Abiola family, saying the statue was indeed befitting to honour his late father.

“God is great. I heard about this statue six months ago and I was called to come and see it and when I got here, I saw a statue of three-storey building. This is indeed massive. The family of late MKO Abiola really appreciates this and we want to thank the Governor,” Abdul Mumuni said.

He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for posthumous award conferred on his father and declaring June 12 as the Democracy Day, as well as the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for standing solidly behind the struggle.

“We thank the President for doing what he did. This statue was planned before the President did what he did and so we want to thank Governor Ambode for this,” he said.

Governor Ambode, who earlier spoke at a symposium held at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television in Ikeja to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the June 12, 1993 election, paid glowing tributes to other comrades who led the struggle from the front including Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ambassador Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Chief Frank Kokori, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Mr. Wale Oshun, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and other Nigerians and Civil Society Organisations, Trade and Labour unions.

“We also pay glowing tribute to the beautiful memories of patriots such as Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Michael Enahoro, Chief Alfred Rewane, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, General Adeyinka Adebayo and several others including innocent ordinary Nigerians, young and old who were murdered in cold blood on the streets of Lagos and in other major cities of Nigeria. Today, we declare that their sacrifice has not been in vain,” he said.

The Governor commended Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for being the pioneer Governor to declare public holiday on June 12 throughout his tenure in office as well as Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for his steadfastness in upholding the tradition, saying that the occasion attests to their visionary leadership.

Speaking on the theme: “Restructuring: Antidote For Efficient And Effective Polity,” guest lecturer, Dr. Dele Ashiru of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos (UNILAG), called for the amendment of the Constitution to ensure removal of provisions which inhibit successful running of functional system, especially revenue sharing formula which he said must be by derivation, among others.

He also said considering the strategic importance of Lagos to the country, special attention must be given to the State, adding: “The Federal Government must wake up and pay Lagos adequately from the national resource so that the State can continue to play the role it had been playing in the country.”

He described Lagos as a model and mega city not only in Africa but the world, and as such all hands must be on deck to work for its sustenance.

Also, Chairman of June 12 Coalition, Comrade Linus Okoroji commended the Lagos State Government for sustained commitment to the June 12 struggle which had yielded fruits with the recent declaration of the day as Democracy Day in Nigeria and recognition of MKO Abiola as GCFR.