Fashola Commissions Boxing Hall Of Fame, Gymnasium In Surulere
• "It is an expression of our commitment to development of amateur and grassroots sports", he says
Aug 26, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), at the weekend formally commissioned the Surulere Boxing Gymnasium of the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame at Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area of the State saying it is an expression of his administration's commitment to amateur and grassroots sports in the State.
Established by the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame in conjunction with the Lagos Amateur Boxing Association, the boxing gymnasium, which was begun in 2009 through the initiatives of the State's former Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele and a former Commissioner for Finance in the State, who is currently Chairman of the Hall of Fame, Mr. Olawale Edun, contains world class boxing facilities both for training young boxers internally and for commercial purposes.
In his remarks before commissioning the facility, Governor Fashola also said the Hall of Fame "speaks deeply and eloquently" to his administration's spirit of continuity both as a people and as a party of the Action Congress of Nigeria, adding, "We don't dismantle what our predecessors have built".
According to the Governor, "This gymnasium provides us with an opportunity to support the establishment of facilities. Every time we have international tournaments, we end up with what has sadly become a fire brigade approach. We rush players to camp two weeks to the tournament and expect to win".
"With facilities such as this, where athletes can train on daily basis for nine months, one year or two years before their championships, I see this as a way forward", the Governor said adding that the facility is also a testimony to the commitment of his administration to methods, particularly in boxing.
Noting that the Government is not only busy with football, Governor Fashola declared, "You will see we are also busy with Squash, we are also busy with Swimming, we are busy with Athletics and we are busy with Bench Soccer. And, therefore, we are impacting in many sporting concerns, as many sporting endeavours as possible because we understand the value of sports in nation building; in the development of the minds and physique of young people, in the development of the confidence of a nation".
"We can see what the Chinese are doing today. Not only is their economy prospering, their citizens are competing at very high levels of sports", the Governor said, adding, "I think this investment here will be a very strong statement of our readiness as a State and hopefully as a nation, to take back our leadership position in the African Continent", Governor Fashola said.
Thanking the initiators of the project, Mr. Olawale Edun, who is also Chairman of the Hall of Fame, and Prince Adeniji-Adele and their team for a job well done, Governor Fashola said, "The leadership and teamwork you have displayed in grassroots sports is a commitment to the upliftment of young people, to the development of their minds and their bodies".
"I always say you don't need a title to serve your community; you don't need to be appointed governor, you don't need to be appointed a commissioner or a chairman or councilor of your local government to do a great thing amongst your people. And as I have always said, Mr. Olawale Edun is a very good example of somebody who has not looked for a title but continues to serve his people", the Governor said.
He noted that Mr. Edun was at one time a Commissioner for Finance in the State but declared, "Those of us who know the stress of keeping the finances of Lagos State know that it did not give him time to express himself. So, no sooner had he left than the idea of a Boxing Hall of Fame found expression between him and Prince Adeniji-Adele".
Expressing gratitude to Mr. Edun and the former Sports and Youths Development Commissioner who started it with him as well as the incumbent Commissioner for Sports for the great work they have done, Governor Fashola noted, "Beyond this, I know the many young men and women this monthly championships have taken off the streets; I know how many young men and women this championship has taken to places they would not have dreamt to be.I know how he has organized trips for them abroad to show them that those who are making it there are not better than us".
The Governor who also charged the host community to safeguard the facility as well as show hospitality to those who come from within and outside the State to use it, declared, ""This Gymnasium, this Hall of Fame is going to put Itire-Ikate Local Council Development Area, Surulere Local Government Area, Lagos State and Nigeria on a very prominent global map", the Governor said.
In his own remarks, the Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Waheed Enitan-Oshodi, said the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame was out to bring out the best in boxing from youths in the State adding, "We have seen young men and women here who are having a sense of belonging through the works of the Hall of Fame.
According to the Commissioner, "For the State Government, the work of the Lagos Boxing Hall of Fame was translated at the last National Sports Festival culminating in Lagos State winning boxing competition of the festival".
Thanking the Chairman and members of the Hall of Fame for the good works they are doing, the Commissioner also urged the host community to look after the facility and welcome all those coming to make use of it adding, "All the young people using this facility should abide by the rules".
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chairman of the Hall of Fame, Mr. Olawale Edun, thanked the Governor "for giving us the challenge in February 2009 of reviving, rejuvenating and revamping amateur boxing in Lagos State with the ultimate aim of youths development".
According to the Chairman, "He did not do it alone; he used his instrument of office, the Honourable Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development at the time, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele". He added that with the present Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development and the rest of the boxing confraternity as well as the Ikate-Itire LCDA, "we are here to ensure that the initiative put down as a policy by Your Excellency and carried out by the former Sports Commissioner is here to stay".
Describing the Hall of Fame as self-sufficient, the Chairman, who also said it is a commercial venture, disclosed that it has capacity for 32 people in air conditioned rooms, a place for feeding, an exercise room, a ring, equipment room and other things needed for boxing.
"The National Sports Commission and the National Boxing Federation should take note. We don't need to go to Germany; we don't need to go to Malta. What we have here is world class and it is sustainable", the Chairman said. He also urged the host community to see the facility as their own adding that it is also open to all across the State, country and beyond. "Make visitors comfortable and welcome. They are bringing their funds and their goodwill to you", he said.