PARTING GIFT: Governor Fashola (2nd r) receives a special gold trophy from organisers of the Governor’s Cup in Lagos on Saturday, 22 November, 2014.
By Tunde Oyedele
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola held everyone spellbound while making his closing remarks during the finals of the 2014 Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Invitational Tournament held at Onikan on Saturday, 22 November, eyeonthesports.com reports.
Fashola, who was standing at the Centre Court of Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, the exact spot where he read his first welcome address to participants of the competition about eight years ago, apparently said a painful goodbye to the Governor’s Cup.
The sports loving governor, who congratulated Moses Michael of Nigeria for defeating Duncan Mugabe of Uganda to win this year’s trophy, said: “This is the end of my visit to this tennis tournament as Governor of Lagos State. I may come to watch future competitions at this club but I will be here as a fan or friend of the organisers, so I thank you all for your support and I congratulate the winners of this year’s tournament”.
.WINNER: Moses Michael of Nigeria (l) receives the 2014 Governor’s Cup from Governor Fashola, after beating Duncan Mugabe of Uganda in the final.
Eyeonthesports.com recalls that Fashola, who is about completing his second term as Chief Executive of the State, has seen the finals of the tennis tournament for eight years running, hence his emotional attachment to the Governor’s Cup and its organisers, which was evident in his farewell message.
“I want to express my special thanks to the organisers of the Governor’s Cup for their judicious handling of the championships since its inception, you have done very well. And my special thanks also go to the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club members for providing an enabling environment for the tournament to thrive over the years”, Fashola said in an emotion laden voice.
Owing to the fact that such an internationally recognised Governor’s Cup competition may be scrapped if a rival party comes on board in the next democratic dispensation in the State, the out-going governor urged Lagosians to vote wisely (for his party) during the next general elections, to ensure the sustainability of the tournament.
“You all are living witnesses to our party’s commitment to sports development, especially the Governor’s Cup, which has become a special project in the calendar of Lagos State. However, my appeal to Lagosians is for you all to vote for the right party so that this tournament can be sustained”, Fashola said with deep feelings.
Fashola, who presented top prizes and trophies to winners of the tournament, took his time to exchange handshakes with members of the club, umpires and ball-boys before he finally took a bow from the Governor’s Cup.
.FLASH BACK: Governor Fashola (l) presents a trophy to Ante Pavic of Italy, a past winner of the tournament.
The Main Organising Committee, MOU of the Governor’s Cup however honoured Fashola with a parting gift of a gold trophy, which the spectators widely applauded.
Meanwhile, the Organising Committee, led by Prince ‘Wale Oladunjoye, the Senior Special Adviser, SSA to Lagos State Governor has been in charge of administration of the Governor’s Cup rated by Confederation of African Tennis, CAT and International Tennis federation, ITF.
The championships, instituted by former Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, normally holds in October every year, but was shifted to November this year due to the spread of Ebola virus in Africa and rest of the World.
The 2014 edition, which gulped $84,0000 in prize money, took place from 17-22 November and featured only Nigerians and other top tennis players in Africa.