Eko 2012: Fashola Splashes Jobs, Scholarships, Skill Training, Money On Athletes
• "If we all do what we are supposed to do, the reward lies at the end of the journey", he says
Dec 11, 2012 - It was celebration galore Tuesday at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, venue of a cocktail party hosted by the State Government for athletes and all the stakeholders in the just concluded National Sports Festival (Eko 2012) as the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) splashed gifts of jobs, scholarship, skill training and money to athletes who participated in the games.
With face glowing with pride and fulfillment, Governor Fashola, who announced the rewards to the already jubilant athletes also promised that the State Government would sponsor all the athletes in the medals category in any sports of their choice both within the African Continent and across Europe.
Explaining the basis for the rewards, Governor Fashola, who noted that some states promised monetary rewards to their athletes, said the Lagos State Government did not do so because it wanted the athletes to run for the sake of wearing the States colours and winning honours at the competition.
According to the Governor, "We did not promise you anything but you ran because you wanted to wear the colours of your State. You ran because you legitimately wanted to compete for honour. That is the way a sportsman competes". He recalled that during his time as a teenager, he and his colleagues were just satisfied to know that a Government official came to watch them compete.
"It is not in our nature to promise people for what they are supposed to do; but it is in our nature to reward people for what they have done", the Governor said adding, "We are doing this because it is now clear to us that you understand the purpose and the mission of this State. We want to build our State inch by inch, block by block until it becomes the model megacity that we want it to be", the Governor said.
Promising that the State Government would continue to give support and encouragement to the athletes the best way it could, Governor Fashola declared, "If we work hard, we are going to share the reward. Nobody will be given promise for what he is supposed to do but if we do what we are supposed to do, the reward lies at the end of the journey".
The Governor said the purpose of the party was to show a token of appreciation of the Government to all the stakeholders in the Eko 2012 including the Local Organizing Committee, the sponsors, the coaches, the trainers and the officials but especially the athletes, for their invaluable contributions to the success of the Festival.
"I thought it would be inappropriate to end the Eko 2012 as we did on Sunday. I thought after a long year of preparation and two weeks of intense hard work when we opened our doors to all Nigerians, to create a forum where we could meet with you and say a big thank you to all of you", the Governor said.
Expressing pride over the achievements of the State in the Festival, Governor Fashola said the fact that the State was able to prepare for the hosting of the Festival in one year instead of the traditional two years, showed that the people of Lagos could achieve anything they set their minds to achieve.
"We have shown that whatever we decide on as a people, there is nothing we cannot change in Lagos", the Governor said adding that Lagos was able to achieve the success "because extraordinary men and women, members of the LOC, our sponsors, our coaches, our trainers, our officials and, most importantly, our athletes decided to rally round a common cause. It shows that in this City of Lagos nothing can be impossible to do if we set our mind to do it".
Announcing the rewards, Governor Fashola said those athletes who wish to work with the State Government would be offered jobs and those who are still in school will be given scholarship up to university level while those of them who wish to learn any skill would be trained in the skill of their choice after which government would give them financial assistance to establish their trades.
Governor Fashola also announced cash rewards of N20,000 to all athletes who did not win any medals, N100, 000 to athletes who won Bronze, N150, 000 to their colleagues who won Silver and N250, 000 to athletes who won Gold Medals. He also promised that he was ready to work with any of the athletes who aspires to participate in the Olympic Championships in Brazil in 2016 adding, "For those of you who want to be outstanding sportsmen that must be your destination. I am ready to work with you every inch of the way until we produce Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists from among you for the Olympics".
Earlier, in her welcome address, the Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, described the National Sports Festival in Lagos as a huge success attributing the excellent hosting by the State to the contributions of the numerous stakeholders including the LOC, the Main Organizing Committee, the sponsors, journalists and the athletes themselves.
The Deputy Governor, who singled out Governor Fashola for special commendation declared, "We appreciate the invaluable input of our Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the excellent leadership role he played in the success of the Eko 2012. We thank him and the State Executive Council for the trust and confidence they reposed in us".
Giving further reasons for the party, the Chairman, who said the memory of the events of the games would linger in her memory for a long time declared, "After the rigorous, eventful and memorable outing, we have come today to celebrate excellence, to appreciate industry and to salute leadership", adding that the event was also slated to recognize all the stakeholders in the Eko 2012.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of plaques to members of the LOC, Chairmen of sub committees such as Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, Dr. Ademola Seriki, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, former First Lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Angela Adebayo, Prince Wale Olagunjoye, Chief Olawale Edun and sponsors like Mr. Cosmas Maduka of the Coscharis Group among others. The presentations were made by the Governor himself while the Athletes gave appreciation plaques to top Government functionaries including the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Commissioner for Sports, Dr. Enitan Oshodi.
Also present at the occasion were the Oba of Lagos, Oba Babatunde Rilwan Akiolu 1, members of the Local Organizing Committee such as the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, his Health counterpart, Dr. Olajide Idris, other members of the State Executive Council, top Government functionaries, sports administrators and enthusiasts.