ABR contributing editor and Lagos lawyer Chidi Ikeotuonye takes a measure of the second Access Bank Lagos City Marathon and declares that it is giving Lagosians access to the world of marathons:
One could feel the excitement in Governor Ambode’s voice when during his closing remarks at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, he said, ‘let’s do this again next year’. There was an air of satisfaction about the officials and organisers of the event as the mixed crowd of flushed spectators and exhausted marathonersrocked to the music of popular Lagos artists like Olamide while others resolutely set their faces homewards towards the mainland, content with the days proceedings.
The Access Bank Lagos City Maratnon was a huge success by reasonable measures. There were no major health or safety issues; no tragic twist of events or incidents; great turn-out, great weatherand well above average organisation and management. The route was well and colourfully mapped out and decently stocked with refreshments at certain points; and guests and volunteers were treated to some good entertainment under a huge air conditioned tent at the end point of the marathon set on the emerging landscape of the grand Atlantic City project.
For Abraham Kiptum, it was a runaway success, winning the herculean forty two kilometer race and a coveted cash price of fifty thousand dollars, the second time in the second edition of the marathon. Overall, one could not help nursing tbe sentiment that the East Africans had ridden rough shod over us, here in Nigeria, carting away all prizes for the first three positions, forcing us into a less significant position than we were accustomed to on the African scene.
There were two other great winners of the day, in the person of Governor Ambode and Herbert Wigwe, MD of Acces Bank Plc. For the duo, it was a sustainable experiment in Public Private Partnership; a collaboration which infused energy and efficiency into the Lagos State Sports Commission and undoubtedly bestowed a testimony of solid achievements in Corporate Social Responsibility upon Access Bank Plc under the leadership of Herbert Wigwe.
Tbe marathon is already positioning Lagos as one of the big marathon cities of the world, which doubtless would increase its tourist potentials. It is also a platform that would harness the hidden potentials of our own local athletes. Although the Kenyansmhave walloped us till now, there is still the stubborn Nigerian hope that soon enough names like Ilya Pam Nwanta, who was the first Nigerian to finish, would be a contender for the fifty thousand dollars.
At any rate, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon remains a template for good governance. As we visited the sports commision during preparations, one could observe the usual lapses or the ‘civil service syndrome’; a certain apathy towards enquiries from stakeholders and the media; a certain bellicosity from ‘top shots’, but these minuses were overwhelmed by the spirit of private sector driven investment and enterprise. Someone had put down lots of money and expected a good show for it. The sports commission under Governor Ambode pulled it off, giving Lagosians a sustainable access to the world of great marathons and Access Bank under Herbert Wigwe was a big part of this success story.