By Ezra Odogu
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday, inaugurated a new public recreational park in Ketu area of Lagos State, with the facility symbolising the commercial city’s constant crave for enduring harmony.
Peace Park, which is strategically located at the intersection between Ikorodu Road and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in Agboyi Ketu axis, is made up of three uniquely designed gardens with interconnecting walkways. The park sits on 25,700 square metres, with soft and hard landscaping elements.
Developed by Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), the recreation ground offers a welcoming aesthetic and relaxing ambience for leisure. It is located opposite to the M.K.O Abiola Garden along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and has easy access for visitors.
Sanwo-Olu said the Peace Park represented a new era of harmony in the State, noting that the facility symbolised the collective spirit of law-abiding Lagosians toiling daily to promote peace and progress.
The idea of the park, the Governor said, stemmed from his desire to heal the wounds of the past and commit the Government to the trust of the young people in helping to uphold their dreams and aspirations.
He said: “We made the promise less than a year ago that we would build this Peace Park, which would be a place that will bring all of us together. This project was conceived to be a symbol that will further strengthen our unity, diversity and the sense of equity that we share as residents of this State. We are here today to hand over the facility for public use and this is another example that, when we make a promise, we will fulfil it.
“This recreation ground is for our youths who will use this facility not only as a convergence point for various life-changing activities, but also as a symbol of unity and peaceful coexistence. Our young people should see this park as a means of Government identifying with them and use it as a platform to uphold their aspirations and interests. This is why we name the park ‘Peace’ because we believe there is nothing that cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.”
Sanwo-Olu said the beautification project was part of the elaborate urban renewal plan of his administration, stressing that the development was being complemented with rehabilitation of major roads within the area.
The Governor pledged his commitment to improving the quality of life for the residents by embarking on projects that would have direct impacts on their livelihoods. He said the recently launched 30-year development plan was designed for the youth to benefit from opportunities listed in the document.
He charged young people to use the facility with a sense of responsibility and maintain the infrastructure put in place to make the park conducive for visitors.
“This is another demonstration of our commitment to the well-being of our residents, especially the young people. This project is significant and it should be seen as evidence that we are a Government that listens to the expectations of the people; a Government that is passionate about what the youth want and what will benefit them. We will be ever ready to listen and work with our youths to ensure peace reign in Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Hon. Tunji Bello, said the concept of the park’s master plan was a unique vision that incorporated scenic landscapes, recreational facilities for children and adults, plants and trees to facilitate community engagement and social interactions.
Bello described the project as “another landmark achievement” of the current administration towards improving the well-being of Lagosians, as well as bequeathing a befitting environment to the State in line with the Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) in Lagos, Comrade Biliamin Oba, hailed the Governor for prioritising youth development and inclusion in programmes of the Government.
Oba said: “We are all witness to the projects and programmes of the Sanwo-Olu administration that are directed towards the youth constituency. This is another project initiated to positively harness our energy and promote peace in Lagos. A lot of youths benefited from Agric YES programmes of the State Government, while the Ministry of Wealth Creation is creating employment opportunities for us through MSMEs support grants.
“Many in the youth community have benefited from the vocational training programme of the State, while the Governor is making an effort in the face-lifting of our youth centres. We are using this medium to appreciate and commend the Governor for fulfilling his promise to bring this Peace Park into life. We are responding with our assurance that the youth constituency will always support this kind of initiative and work for peace.”
LASPARK General Manager, Mrs. Ade Popoola, listed the attractive ornaments in the park to include neatly arranged decorative plants, various species of trees, monuments including an iconic Lagos chair, an art mural wall, restrooms and secure parking area. There is also a security post at the facility.