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Governor Ambode Appoints Professor Wole Soyinka Chairman Lagos at 50 Planning Committee

Valentine Chinyem

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Ahead of its 50th Anniversary coming up in 2017, the Lagos State Government has appointed Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka chairman of the Lagos at 50 planning committee.

The Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode made the announcement at the inauguration of the committee on Wednesday. Appointed to work alongside the Nobel Laureate is Rasheed Gbadamosi. They will both head the committee.

In his remarks, the Governor expressed optimism that the committee will deliver a befitting ceremony, that will not only bring the State to limelight in Nigeria but to the world at large.

“Lagos State will be 50 years next year. 50 years is a significant landmark in the life of any individual, institution or State. For Lagos State, it has been an eventful 50 years which deserves to be fittingly celebrated,” he said.

While citing the enormous opportunities that abound in the state, the Governor said: “Lagos is a land of opportunities, offering all residents the chance to succeed in their vocations and endeavours. Lagos provides jobs to more people than any other State in Sub Saharan Africa. Lagos is that place where you have a chance to make it if you work hard.

He said Lagos, despite being the smallest and oldest state in Nigeria, remains the only state that has not been divided to create more states since its inception on May 27, 1967.

“Indeed, Lagos State has justified its creation. Apart from being the pacesetter and first among equals in the comity of States in the Nigerian Federation, Lagos State also occupies a noticeable position in global affairs especially as the fastest growing mega city in the world, he said.

“With all these in mind, it is imperative that we celebrate Lagos at 50. In celebrating Lagos, we must showcase our cultural heritage. We must celebrate the language, arts, sights and sounds of Lagos. Celebrating Lagos is to celebrate Nigerian Unity and Progress because Lagos provides the cohesion that keeps Nigeria together”, he said.

He said a celebration of such significance requires proper planning, hence the inauguration of the Committee, who he decribed as respected men and women, who have perfect understanding of the expectations of Lagosians, Nigerians and indeed the world.

Duties of the Committee includes, developing a comprehensive programme for the celebrations; identify series of events that will take place as part of the celebrations; establish the logistics requirements to ensure a hitch free celebration; identify areas of possible collaboration with corporate organizations and individuals for support; as well as consider and make appropriate recommendations on any other matter that will ensure a successful and memorable celebration.

In a rather short remark, Prof. Soyinka said the celebration of Lagos at 50 would afford an excellent opportunity for the state to identify with the triumph, losses and experience of the Black Race at home and in the diaspora, as he promised that members of the Committee would work amonously to ensure the state gets the deserved celebration.

While acknowledging the achievements of the state so far, Professor Soyinka likened the celebration to one of the programmes in past editions of Lagos Black Heritage Festival called the ‘Black in the Mediterranean Blue’, saying “It would be used to project the black race not just for the colonial experience and slave trade, but also as a cultural people.”

Other members of the committee include Hon. Habeeb Fasinro, Chief Olawale Cole, Mrs. Sarah Boulos, Mr. Abimbola Obafunwa, Prof (Mrs) Senapon Bakare, Mrs. Chika Balogun, Mr. Folarin Coker, Prof. Ademola Abass, Bolanle Austen Peter and Mrs Olufunmilayo Balogun as secretary.

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