Fashola Commissions COWLSO Retirement Villa: Advocates Spirit of Continuity In Public Service
• As Senator Tinubu commends successor for realizing vision of Villa
Jun 27, 2013 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday commissioned the first ever retirement resort for retired public servants in Lagos built in Lekki by the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) saying only the spirit of continuity in the public service could guarantee national development.
Addressing the distinguished audience made up of past and serving wives of public servants in the State including former First Ladies, Alhaja Abimbola Jakande, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and a representative of Mrs. Obafunmilayo Johnson, among others, Governor Fashola noted that lack of continuity has caused the death of many laudable projects in the country as a result of successors abandoning such projects because they did not start them.
Governor Fashola, who expressed joy that continuity, has become a way of life in Lagos State to the advantage of the citizenry, declared, "These ideas are fundamental, they are important because in our lifetime we have witnessed instances where projects were abandoned by successors only because they did not start them. We have witnessed instances where the acquisition of land, as in this case, ended up in court".
The Governor said that although the event being celebrated was the dedication and commemoration of a building, the underlying issue being dedicated and commemorated was an idea which has given birth to the building.
"Although we have come to dedicate and commemorate a building, I think what we have come to dedicate and commemorate today actually is a greater cause, an idea, the idea that gave birth to this building, an idea that was resting in the heart and in the mind of the very First lady that Lagos had when it became a State, Mrs. Obafunmilayo Johnson", the Governor said.
According to him, "That idea made her to take charge while still taking care, that idea is now represented by the word COWLSO and I think that is the idea that we all have gathered here to celebrate".
Governor Fashola said inherent in the idea that gave birth to COWLSO was the idea that people can serve without holding any public office adding, "That is the strong message that this building represents. It is the underlying raison d'etre of COWLSO, to fill in the gaps that we the men leave behind while pursuing the higher causes for public good".
Commending the immediate past First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, for reviving and following up on the idea after 40 years, Governor Fashola also noted with joy, "Of course it is the same cause, the same idea to continue with what somebody has started, to suppress ego and to control vision and to run with good ideas irrespective of where they originate from that has enabled your current chairperson to run with an idea she did not start and deliver it to fruition.
"Clearly, continuity of ideas, continuity of projects has become a way of life in our State and our citizens are better for it. And therefore, we must salute the women of Lagos. So while this building will age, while it will need to be maintained, while another first lady will come and say I want a 20-storey retirement villa, the underlying idea that gave birth to this will never fade", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola promised that his administration would continue from where the women stopped by providing furniture, drainage and Power for the Villa adding that the annual budget for the maintenance of the building would be incorporated into the State's annual budget.
"To the extent that you fill our gaps, you have done very well. This is a cause that we should have championed and I salute you for championing it. However, from this moment forward all of those gaps that now exist here, furniture, drainage and PHCN, we will fill. We have set up an office of facility management for public buildings and infrastructure so we will incorporate whatever your annual budget for maintaining this building will be into the State annual budget", the Governor said.
He thanked his colleague governors who had honoured his invitations annually to either declare the COWLSO annual conference open or closed adding that the funds they donated has helped to build the Villa.
In her remarks, the former First Lady and Grand Matron of COWLSO, Mrs. Obafunmilayo Johnson expressed joy that the Committee has grown by leaps and bounds over the years adding that the commissioning of the Villa represented the strength of heart of the women of COWLSO.
Mrs. Johnson who was represented at the occasion by Mrs. Olatoun Williams declared, "Since 2004, COWLSO has come of age in looking after children. Your caring hearts has been demonstrated in the many projects you have done for the young people of Lagos. You have been a fortress and tower of strength for women".
Also in her remarks at the occasion, Senator Tinubu said the vision to build the Villa originated from her love for old people and the thought to find a place for them to be able to relax and connect with their past adding that many old retirees had died soon after their retirement as a result of boredom and loneliness.
Expressing gratitude to her successor, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, for bringing the vision to fruition, Senator Tinubu expressed joy that the idea conceived many years ago was not abandoned but has been implemented even beyond her vision and expectation.
In her welcome address earlier, the First Lady, Dame Abimbola Emmanuella Fashola, pointed out that the project "was conceived and executed in recognition of the need to provide a venue for our active citizens, who have contributed to the development of our country and particularly Lagos State, to engage in healthy recreational activities in a conducive environment".
The First Lady who, paid glowing tribute to individuals and corporate organizations who contributed to make the idea of the Villa a reality, also gave a brief history of the Villa saying the contractors were mobilized in 2009 while construction work commenced a year later. She added that the construction work was done in phases as a result of the size of the project and the need to deliver a facility that would serve the envisioned purpose.
Governor Fashola later cut the tape while the former First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, assisted by the other former First Ladies, unveiled the plaque to declare the Villa open.
Highlight of the event was the planting of 50 trees donated by COWLSO by both the Governor, the First and former First Ladies, the wives of the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the Chairman of the State's Action Congress of Nigeria as well as other top government functionaries to commemorate the 50th birthday of the Governor.
Also present at the occasion were the former Head of Service of Lagos State and now House of Representative member, Hon. Yakub Balogun, Vice Chairperson of COWLSO, Mrs. Mayowa Ikuforiji, Wife of the Lagos ACN Chairman, Mrs. Adetoun Ajomale, Alhaja Abimbola Jakande, representatives of First Lady of Ogun State, members of the State Executive Council, and top government functionaries.