Fashola Enjoins Lagosians To Protect Waterways From Refuse, Encroachment
• As colourful annual Lagos Water Regatta thrills residents, foreign tourists
Mar 31, 2013 - Lagosians and foreign tourists were on Sunday thrilled at this year's annual Lagos Water Regatta at the Regatta Village, Victoria Island, even as the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), enjoined Lagosians to protect the waterways against refuse and encroachment.
The annual Lagos Water Regatta, which takes place on Easter Sunday, involves such water-based cultural, sporting and recreational activities as Boat Regatta Parade and cultural performances, Canoe race (Rowing for male and female competitors), Kayak demonstration by Navy Sailing Club, Open water swimming competition (male and female), Speed boat parade, Jet ski demonstration and Boat Regatta cultural performance among other events.
In his remarks at the event, which was witnessed by visitors from across Africa Asia and Europe, Governor Fashola said keeping the waterways free of refuse and from constant reclamation would ensure that it continues to play the role of drainage, means of transportation and source of food for residents for generations to come.
The Governor told the excited audience, "My message to you today is that not all of us will be privileged to own property on this waterway, but if you do please recognize that it is first a privilege and also involves duties. It must not be a dust bin for dumping refuse. This must not be a place for indiscriminate extension of your land".
"Every time you claim more land on this waterways, you narrow the lagoon", the Governor explained adding, "Therefore, if we all play our roles, this waterways will endure for many generations to come".
Governor Fashola said for the indigenes the Lagos Water Regatta was not just an event but a passing on of tradition of how the ancestors of the land lived and how they used the waterways as means of transportation and source of food and also sports adding that the waterways also provided for them a natural drainage in times of high rainfall and flooding.
"It is a passing on of tradition from our ancestors, how they lived on this City of many small islands and how they survived. These waters represent for us natural drainage in times of very high rainfall and flooding and this is why we work hard to protect it. This is why we are intolerant of people who encroach on the waterways", the Governor further explained.
According to him, "This water also serves as a very reliable means of transportation as it served our ancestors for centuries. So anybody that threatens these waterways threatens our means of transportation and our livelihood. This water also serves as very rich source of food such as fish, lobsters, crabs of many kinds and any other seafood you can think of you will find in these waterways".
"And, of course, it represents sports. For centuries, people have swum in these waterways in fulfillment of their sporting talents. We are experiencing a new generation of sports men and women who have received that torch do it before us today", the Governor said.
Enjoining all Lagosians to continue to live in the spirit of mutual co-existence, restraint and vigilance, Governor Fashola declared, "Lagos plays host to all parts of Africa and not just Nigerians from all walks of life. Its capacity to be home to all is because of our resolve to live together, to co-exist together in peace, respecting diversity, respecting religion and ethnicity and respecting the hosts and indigenes of the land".
"All of us have a duty to continue to exercise restraint and be very vigilant; vigilant for those who abuse or have the potential to abuse our hospitality", the Governor said adding, "I want you, in the spirit of Easter, to reach out deep in that spirit of restraint that makes us our brothers' and our sisters' keepers. That way, we will continue to enjoy all of the assets, all of the freedom, all of the opportunities for prosperity that this Island City State offers".
Wishing all Lagosians and other spectators a very happy Easter celebration, Governor Fashola commended the Planning Committee of the event headed by Otunba Olusegun Jawando (MFR) and all the participants in the events featured at the Regatta which also included Speed Boat Parade Search and Rescue demonstration by Apapa Sea School, Snake Island.
In his remarks as the Admiral of the 2013 Regatta, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Apapa, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, thanked the State Government and the Regatta Planning Committee for choosing him as the Admiral of the annual event for this year.
Rear Admiral Ibas said if all the potentials inherent in residents were to be well harnessed for the benefit of Lagos, the State would certainly be prosperous adding that one of the ways was to keep the waterways free of all encumbrances in order to ensure that it performs it natural functions and for navigation as well as transportation.
He pledged that the Navy would do all in its power to ensure the Lagos waterways are kept safe for navigation, transportation and other maritime activities as well as sporting activities and other events such as the annual Regatta.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Chairman of the Planning Committee, Otunba Olusegun Jawando said the Regatta annually provides visitors to the City the opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of Lagos expressing joy that the Regatta had greatly improved over the years to become a tourist attraction with visitors coming from across Africa and Europe to watch the various performances.
He thanked the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) for its continued support and demonstration of resolve to take the event to the international standard.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of prizes to winners in various categories of the various sporting events that took place at the occasion.
Also present were members of the State Executive Council, former Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba ,Traditional Chiefs, Senior Citizens of the State, delegates from African countries, tourists from across Europe and Asia among dignitaries and other spectators.