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Lagos Water Regatta 2015 Celebrated With More Participation, Greater Splendour
• "Festival is now being listed on the calendar of the International Dragon Boat Federation", says Chairman

Apr 19, 2015 - Despite its postponement as a result of the General Elections in the country, the annual Lagos State water-based festival, Lagos Water Regatta, witnessed more participation and greater splendour Sunday as more states of the federation and international clubs and organizations made their entry and added colour to the various activities marking the event.

The festival, celebrated annually as part of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, was begun by the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, in 2009, and has yearly attracted more participation from both within and outside the State with the participants featuring in most of the activities at the festival such as open water swimming, boat race and the traditional boat parade, among others.

While the 2014 edition featured participants from neighbouring African countries such as Togo and Ghana, this year's edition, the sixth in the series, with the theme: "Celebrating the Aquatic Splendour of Lagos", featured other riverine states like Delta, Edo and Akwa Ibom as well as the University of Ibadan, among others, while participating organizations and clubs added more colour to such activities as parade of boats and yachts, boat race, Skiing and open water swimming among other events.

In his remarks at the festival, which took place at its usual venue on Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi, Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Mr. Disun Holloway, who stood in for the State Governor, expressed joy that participation in the festival has grown beyond the boundaries' of the State with each year bringing more colours into the event.

Holloway, who thanked Governor Fashola and other sponsors of the event for making it possible to hold every year without fail, saying the State Government would continue to move the frontiers of the festival, which, according to him, is meant for relaxation and keeping alive the traditional legacy of the State.

Expressing pleasure at the ability of his Ministry to package this year's event, the Commissioner appealed to Lagos residents to endeavour to attend other activities marking the Lagos Black Heritage Festival such as the Carnival which will now take place on May 2, 2015.

Admiral of this year's event and Flag officer Commanding Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Olusegun Babalola Egbedina, in his remarks, noted that the Aquatic Splendour of Lagos was rooted in the various ways water in the State have been used over the years by both foreigners and the people of Lagos for the socio-economic prosperity of the people.

Thanking Governor Fashola for his vision in establishing the festival, Rear Admiral Egbedina, who described the festival as an open door to prosperity through Tourism and an opportunity to expand the economic horizon of the State and Nigeria, called for more participation among Nigerians and foreigners in other to realize its full Tourism potential.

In his welcome address, Chairman of the Lagos Water Regatta 2015, Otunba (Engnr.) Olusegun Jawando, expressed delight that the Regatta was gaining international recognition adding that aside the participation of neighbouring African countries such as Ghana and Togo, the festival was now being listed on the calendar of the International Dragon Boat Federation.

Jawando told the gathering of prominent Lagos residents including members of the international community that the event had recorded tremendous growth since inception with several states of Nigeria and neighbouring African countries participating while more organizations and clubs continued to add colour to the annual festival.

Nigerian states that featured in this year's event, according to the Chairman, include Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo Cross-River, Akwa Ibom and Delta while international water-based clubs like the Lagos Jet Skiing Club, added colour and splendour to the festival.

Thanking the State Governor for establishing the festival and his support in upholding the yearly event, Otunba Jawando said the Regatta was meant to celebrate the aquatic splendour of Lagos in recognition of its being surrounded by the ocean and many beautiful lagoons as well as the role water plays in the socio-economic life of the people.

Noting that this year's festival would mark the last edition for the Governor as helmsman of the State, the Chairman, who congratulated the Governor-elect, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on his electoral victory, expressed the hope that the new Governor would work with his Committee to stage "a more exciting and exhilarating Regatta next year".

The event, which began a little before noon Sunday, featured such events as parade of beautifully adorned boats and yachts that came in exciting shapes and designs including some sea monsters, large fishing boats, ferries, badges and other marine vessels, water sports such as boat racing and open water swimming as well as exotic displays by power boats and jets skiing displays.

Local communities that participated in the event included Ibeju-Lekki, Badagry, Campos, Epe Olowogbowo, Awori, Ibeshe, Takwa Bay and Agbowa Ikosi, among others, while participating organizations included Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) Marine Service, First Bank Plc, Keystone Bank, Zenith Bank and Lagos Internal Revenue Service.

Highlights of the event, which also featured such other organizations as the National Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Boat Transporters of Nigeria and Lekki Lagos Free Zone, among others, included the giving of prizes to winners of the various competitions such as the boat parade and open water swimming which featured men and women categories and exotic displays by the Lagos Jet Skiing Club.

Also in attendance were prominent Lagos residents and members of the international community as well as entertainers, music disc jockeys and fun seekers across the country.


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