Following unofficial reports on the planned change of venue of this year’s Ikorodu division annual Lagos Fiesta celebrations, the planned change of venue from the usual Ikorodu Ultra Modern Town Hall to Government College, Ikorodu, in the Ikorodu West LCDA has been generating mixed reactions from residents, particularly youths across the division.
The report, which first surfaced on a popular whatsapp platform was vehemently opposed by many youths of Ikorodu division, who saw the move by Lagos state government, through the ministry of arts & culture as unreasonable, for the fact that, government has not deem it fit to engage residents and stakeholders before unilaterally taking the decision. Another reason given for rejecting the proposed new venue is that, it is far from heart of the town and a considerable distance from residential areas, thereby creating avoidable traffic gridlock along the axis during the fiesta.
Reacting to the report, many concerned stakeholders see the proposed new venue, along Lagos road, by Idiroko / Ogolonto as posing a great security risk to attendees of the fiesta. They particularly raised concerns over the activities of militants, that were recently dislodged from the area as a threat to the peaceful conduct of the week-long celebration.
Other stakeholders criticized the new venue, considering the fact that it is a school compound, with attendant tendencies for the vandalisation of school properties. A particular resident condemned the government decision on the ground that the decision to use the school compound, instead of a purpose-built venue as policy summersault on the part of the government having placed a ban on the use of school facilities for social events across the state.
On the speculation about the non-availability of the Ikorodu town hall for the event, Orimogunje Seun, Assistant Manager, Ikorodu Town Hall stated that. ‘the change of venue for this year’s One Lagos Fiesta is not from the town hall management. Till tis moment, reservation of the 8-day fiesta from 24th to 31st December is still intact in our records’, adding that the management were yet to receive government directives to cancel the reservation.
While others see government decision as a way of giving other parts of Ikorodu division an opportunity to host the event, as a way of giving a sense of belonging to other LCDAs and communities within the division, many still insisted the proposed venue is not the most suitable venue in Ikorodu West, citing places like the Ipakodo ferry terminal, Police barracks, Ikorodu Musical Village as other possible and more suitable venues.
In a special message to Ikorodu Oga Radio on the matter, Princess Aderoju Ladega said, ‘we need to remember that the Owutu vicinity is prone to risks, being hub of militants, oil bunkering, cultists and other vices. Ikorodu town hall is a more secured venue’.
In a swift reaction, Comrade Muyideen Yusuf Olatunji, Coordinator National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) condemned those criticizing the decision of Lagos state government on the change of venue from Ikorodu central to Ikorodu West LCDA.
According to him, ‘the proposed plan to use the Government College / C & S primary school in Ogolonto, Ikorodu West LCDA for the 2017 One Lagos Fiesta is a welcome development’.
Justifying his position, Muyideen added that, ‘the people of Ikorodu West LCDA are peace-loving and law-abiding citizens who has exercised this by playing host to 2015 APC Mega Rally, Flag Off of 2016 Tree Planting by the deputy governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, 2017 Boat regatta and the most recent Asa Cultural Carnival and many more state programs without record of any crises or violence’.
However, a community leader, Mr Ganoiyu Olusegun Abiru, Chairman Ikorodu Oga Development Association (IKODASS) was able to calm frayed nerves, assuring the warring groups that, the person of the Ag Commissioner of Tourism, Hon Bimpe Akinshola and her passion for Ikorodu division was not in doubt.
He added that, the fact that the annual week-long event would be holding on Ikorodu division soil should be enough reason to unite all interests within the division.