Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola receiving the Unity Torch
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, has charged Lagosians to warmly welcome sportsmen and women coming to the city for the 18th National Sports Festival tagged Eko 2012 scheduled to kick off Tuesday.
The governor, who received the Torch of Unity at the weekend, believes the state is fully ready to host the country to an epoch-making event.
He specifically urged Lagosians to embrace visitors from across the country that will throng the state for the festival, adding that hospitality is the hallmark of a good host.
Receiving the torch, Fashola expressed delight that having gone round all the participating states of the federation, it eventually landed in Lagos as a mark of the commencement of Nigeria’s most prestigious sporting event.
“I am happy today receiving the torch of developmental sports. I am particularly delighted because this event characterises the flagging off of the festival, which started here some years back. I want to thank the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the innovation that we have seen like the torch coming through water and others since the preparation for the games started. Like I said a few weeks back we are ready,” Fashola reaffirmed.
The torch which landed at about 12pm on Saturday in Lagos has travelled round various states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, before coming to Lagos to kick-start the festival slated to commence on Tuesday, 27 to December 9.
Coming to Lagos from Abeokuta through the waterways for the first time in the history of the competition, the torch was handed over to the governor by the Zonal Coordinator, South-West zone 1 of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Steve Olarinoye, at the Governor’s House in Marina.
Olarinoye said the arrival of the torch to Lagos was unique coming through the waterways for the first time in the history of the event.
“Your Excellency, you are aware that this torch was lighted at the Presidential Villa some months back and today it has finally arrived Lagos after going round the country. This is unique because it came through water. We at the NSC wish Lagos a successful hosting,” he said.
Meanwhile, the LOC of Eko 2012 is planning a colourful and memorable opening ceremony tomorrow at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
It said in a statement Sunday night that it will be a replica of what happened at the London 2012 and it is a celebration showcasing the best of the Lagos.
It will also feature a parade of all competing states and the highly anticipated entrance of the unity torch.
“The ceremony will provide an opportunity for the world to view the tourism potentials of Lagos. Aside the calisthenics display, the opening ceremony will witness the carnival like nature of the state. Foremost musicians will also be part of the ceremony, which will commence at 5pm,” observed the statement.
According to the LOC Secretary General, Kweku Tandoh, Nigerians should not miss the ceremony, as the best of the state will be on display with the gate opening at 3pm with pre-opening ceremony activities.