By Eric Elezuo
No matter what one’s vocation is, the amiable Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, and his team ensured that everyone was fully represented, and not only where they represented, full participation and dividends were guaranteed.
This was at the magnificently decorated five selected centres of Agege, Badagry, Bar Beach, Epe and Ikorodu, which for eight uninterrupted days played hosts to fun and business loving Lagosians and friends during a mother of all shows tagged One Lagos Fiesta, the second in its unlimited seasons.
The organisers of the events led by the hard working Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, set the show rolling with a press conference on December 15, 2017 in the new improved conference hall of the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa. Here, the taste of the pudding was unveiled with artistes testifying of their readiness to paint the city red!
The artiste readiness was corroborated by sponsors unalloyed support to ensure that fun seekers combined fun with pleasure. The sponsors included Guarantee Trust Bank, Nigeria Breweries, makers of Star Lager beer, generator giant, JMG; Pepsi, Dangote, Glo and a whole lot of others.
On December 24, the crackdown erupted simultaneously at the five mega centres, and the feeling was more than wow. And for eight uninterrupted days, the likes of Wzkid, Davido, P-Square without Paul, Muma Gee, Adewale Ayuba, Ice Prince and many others set the turfs on literary fire with heartrending and pulsating performance after another to the applause and elongated cheers of the Lagos crowd.
With Mr. Ayorinde announcing earlier that the state had raked in over N50 billion in pre activities to Christmas, the stage was set for business minded entities and individuals to take of the huge turn out to make mockery of the recession ravaging the nation – this is the whole idea of the Ambode administration – to create employment from and in a bad situation.
From every corner, food vendors, souvenir merchants, cab drivers and general transporters among many itineries were on hand to attend to the teeming crowd, who only asked for more.
Coupled with the flamboyancy of the season, the centres where the events took place never knew any form of sleep nor were there any night. At the Bar Beach end, life flew all the way from CMS and its environs as transporters were kept busy moving fun lovers to and fro the centre, as at the time TheBoss left the centre on the first night, the cab driver who took the crew, confided that he has lost count of the trips he has made on the night, and with a beaming smile, said “This Christmas is going to be the best ever”.
In Ikorodu and Badagry, the same story is told. Traders took strategic positions of the Badagry Grammar School, and brisk business was an understatement. A man who gave his name simply as Sunday, and was telling fresh brewed palm wine chipped at our correspondent that he wished the fiesta would be an all year affair.
“The kind of money I have made in the four days is much more than what I have made in the last four months combined. I am very grateful to Governor Ambode for this initiative. Lagosians sure need an avenue to carry out their trade, and this sure is a veritable avenue,” he said.
The Beachfront Epe centre was a beehive of activities, and massive crowd as the Governor was physically present on the first night. The crowd which was in their thousands was each either holding a bottled water of soft drink in pet bottle, boosting the trade of the vendors. A simple mathematics can calculate what N100 in 10000 and more places can be. That was the power of the fiesta in all the centres.
Agege, which by all intent and purpose need no introduction in human capacity and high octane pleasure because of the proximity of Ikeja, was practically off the hook with people of all ages and profession trooping in and out, and catching the commerce induced fun as it plays out.
It is worthy of note that everybody who counted in Lagos administration was present including the Governor, his deputy, Hon. Desmond Elliot, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly among many prominent persons.
Mr. Ambode, at inception of his administration, was vowed to enrich the people through tourism, arts and culture, and as a governor that keeps promises, he has more time scored another first. Ambode is lifting Lagos and Lagosians!
Unofficially, it is believed that over five hundred million naira was made by vendors and sponsors alike during the eight day fiesta, and a whole lot of people had their life span increased as a result of the happiness created.
Lagos, under his Excellency, Mr. Ambode, has proved that happiness can be derived by being innovative, and neccesarily not by creating a ministry. Lagos look forward to the 2018 edition of the ever impressive ONE LAGOS FIESTA.