Kunle ADELABU, Mariam AKINLOYE & Olatunji ADEMOLA
-Oba Shotobi, Sen. Ogunlewe commend Hon. Agunbiade, clamour for stadium in Ikorodu
Students from Ikorodu Constituency II in Ikorodu Division area of Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria, emerged winners of the male and female categories of the 5th edition of the Oba Kabir Shotobi Independent Day Mini-Marathon held on Saturday, October 1, 2019.
Alloy Ifeanyi John (147), JSS3 student of Imota Community Junior School, Imota, returned 44 minutes and 29 seconds to emerge the overall best athlete in the 10metres race while Akanbi Muslim (393), SSS 1 student of Luwasa Senior High School, Ijede, returned 51 minutes 34 seconds to win the female category.
Bashiru Awal Rebecca (893) from United Junior High School, Ikorodu, and Wahab Zainab Idowu (125) from Kingsfield College, Ikorodu, returned 51minutes 40seconds and 52mnutes 03 seconds to emerge second and third best respectively in the female category.
Oluwatuyi Michael of Yewa Senior Grammar School, Ikorodu, and Sekoni Olawale from Goodness & Mercy College, Ikorodu, emerged second and third best in the male category as they returned 45minutes 53seconds and 45minutes 41seconds respectively.
Each of the winners in both male and female categories of the race went home with N50, 000 prize money, while the two first runners-up received N30, 000 each and second runners-up received N20, 000 each.
Also, athletes in the 4th to 10th positions in both categories received N10, 000, while those in the 11th to 20th positions were given branded school bags.
A total of 667 students participated in this year’s edition of the annual race. Apejola Oyelarin, a 10-year-old girl and Musa Ifeoluwa, a 10-year-old boy, participated as the youngest athletes.
Mr Akeem Bello, who has been the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the marathon race since inception, while speaking at the event, stated that the competition, which has turned out to be a spring board for many athletes that are now participating in the state and other competitions, has caught the interest of people within and outside Nigeria.
He added that the competition accommodates public and registered private schools and that there has been increase in participation since inception.
“The competition, which started with 92 participants in 2015, has been experiencing an increase in participation. We recorded 180 participants in the second edition in 2016, 250 participants in the third edition in 2017, 269 participants in fourth in 2018 and 667 athletes in this year’s edition.”
Prince Akeem Olukunga, Member, Governing Council, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), while also speaking at the event, stated that there is need to host the officials and athletes of the marathon race in a hotel or hostel within Ikorodu township in subsequent editions to ensure their timely arrival for the race.
“It is important to make hotel or hostel accommodations available for the officials and athletes coming from far distance in the subsequent editions of the annual marathon.
“Secondly, there is need to make giant screens available for guests and spectators seated on the playing ground to view athletes running some kilometres away before their arrival at the terminal point. We need to collaborate to achieve this because we have the facilities to achieve this.
“I commend the sponsor for this opportunity and as usual, I want to believe that the winners will be accommodated for developmental programs. I will definitely take reports here to my chairman for action”, Prince Olukunga stated.
Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly and the sole sponsor of the annual race, in his address, stated that the competition was initiated to create platform for healthy rivalry among students of different schools and also as a discovery ground for future athletes.
Agunbiade, who was a former hockey and football player, also added that the event was conceived to take residents out of their homes and celebrate the independence Day with the children who are participating in the annual race.
“This event was actually created for healthy sporting rivalry among students and schools and also to develop long distance race and get residents engaged, particularly during the Independence Day celebration” , he stated.
“For the past five years, we have been taken Ikorodu people out on the streets to watch, urge and honour these children while they are running”.
He corroborated the organizing committee chairman’s statements on the acceptance the race is generating outside the shore of Nigeria while also appreciating Prince Akeem Olukunga for assisting to standardize the race.
“The programme has become very well-known and I have been receiving messages from outside the state and country, especially from Tanzania, requesting for participation.
“The annual event has become a 10km event because of Prince Akeem Olukunga’s advice. It is now well standardized”, Agunbiade stated.
He, however, called on the Lagos State Government, especially the LSSC, to fully support the competition by helping to upgrade it.
“This 5th edition of the marathon race is to the glory of God and I want to state that there is no financial support from the government or any agency except from some individuals who showed love for the race”, he revealed.
“I did not receive any money from the Lagos State Government to organise this event. This is my own contribution to the development of youths and Ikorodu division.
“For the past five years, we have not had any casualty because officials of the General hospital, Ikorodu, was always on ground.
“We still feel that what we are doing for these children is still small and we want to upgrade it and we are expecting the Lagos State Sports Commission to give us maximum support.
“As a legislator, I know that there are votes for promoting sports and other develomental events in the grassroots.”
Hon. Agunbiade, who revealed that the organisers have refused the request by the corporate bodies that the competition’s name be changed before they could sponsor it, also charged the Sports Commission to live up to its billings.
“We want the Sports Commission to be fully involved in this so that we can upgrade this programme which is meant for Ikorodu division.
“We have also refused to allow corporate bodies to change the name of the event to their own brand as condition for sponsorship.
“We have refused them because the annual race event is meant to honour Nigeria and our revered Kabiyesi”.
The lawmaker, while stating that sponsoring the annual event is very tasking and challenging, assured residents that he would continue to sponsor the event.
“I want to tell you that this is not a small thing at all, but I will continue to do so as long as God gives me the grace. We will continue to wax stronger and stronger every year” , he ppromised.
“Although, Esther Affigbo was disqualified because of her age, she has been great ambassador of this race by participating in many tournaments. We will continue to support her and sponsor her whenever she’s going for any race either in Nigeria or outside.
“The Oba Shotobi Mini-Marathon is named after our kabiyesi to show our appreciation for his support and love for the youths of Ikorodu. He is a man that is so passionate about Ikorodu and his subjects. We thank you for your supports always”.
Former Minister for Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, commended Hon. Agunbiade for sponsoring the race and also congratulated participants and others that have been contributing to the success of the race since inception.
“Hon. Agunbiade has been representing us very well at the State Assembly. The sky is not your limit because you are still going very far.
“I congratulate all the participants, their teachers, officials and others that are involved in the success of the marathon.
“This is an annual event and we have come to support the young ones. Like most of you here, I grew up in this environment and attended a public school, Oriwu College, Ikorodu” , he stated.
“This place (Police Barracks Playing Ground) used to be our playing ground where we played local and international competitions but look at the ground now, it’s not what it ought to be”, he stated disappointedly”.
The former Minister called for the building of a stadium in Ikorodu division for sports development.
“We need a good stadium in Ikorodu division and we are going to work on it with the Majority Leader in achieving this.
“We are also going to work with him to ensure that competitions like this are also replicated in the short distances running like 100 and 200m”,he stated.
Oba Kabir Adewale Shotobi, the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, in his royal remarks, described Hon. Agunbiade as the best Majority Leader in the country.
“I feel proud to be an Ikorodu man because of the good things like this that are happening.
“I feel proud of the children that are participating in this competition.
“We are not mincing words when we say Hon. Agunbiade is the best Majority Leader in the history of Nigeria”, he stated confidently.
“We are saying this because he has been doing it in the Lagos State House of Assembly which is the best in the country. He is also the leader of all the Majority Leaders in the Southwest.
“We are talking about his attributes, qualities, love and passion for children and his constituency. What we are witnessing here today is part of what we saying about him”.
Oba Shotobi also charged the students that are participating in the race to face their studies.
“To you participants, whatever that you are doing, make sure that you don’t lose focus of your education because that is going to be the bedrock of your progress.
“You will all prosper and be great in life and excel in your future endeaours.”
While commending the winners, Oba Shotobi also enjoined those that did not win not to feel sad but work towards emerging the winners in subsequent editions.
“Don’t feel bad if you don’t win today. Your own day is also coming when you will emerge victorious.
“What Agunbiade is doing today is a legacy that will never be destroyed”.
The revered monarch, like Senator Ogunlewe, also called for the construction of a stadium in Ikorodu division to further enhance the development of sporting activities in the division.