The 18th National sports Festival, EKO 2012 kicked off in grand style on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere Lagos. The opening ceremony was held amidst pomp, pageantry and fanfare and it was an excellent depiction of Lagos state as the Centre of Excellence. The event was declared opened by the Vice president, Namadi Sambo representing President Goodluck Jonathan. Shortly after the opening there was a most colorful match past of all participating state followed by Nollywood stars.
Banky W and Ms Jaie added colour to the night through their fabulous rendition of the festival’s theme song which was followed by class act performances by various dance groups.
One of the key attractions at this year’s festival is the volunteer scheme initiated by the Lagos State Government through Campione Sportivo Africa, a Sports Management Organization, also offering technical support to Eko Football and Soccerex . The aim of the volunteer scheme is to develop a strategy for volunteering and volunteers, by setting up a proper structure so that the program becomes not only sustainable and continuous but also a general practice in Nigeria.
The volunteers comprised of men and women from the age of eighteen (18) years and above with educational qualifications ranging from Masters Degree to Senior School Certificates. It is worthy of note that some socially responsible organization including banks and multinationals delegated some of their members of staff to join in this worthy cause of service to the community.
The recruitment of the volunteers was carried out by Afconrecruit with technical support from Silicon Harbour. The aim of the scheme is to develop a strategy for volunteering and volunteers, by setting up a proper structure so that the program becomes not only sustainable and continuous but also a general practice in Nigeria.
The volunteer scheme enhances national and socio-economic development by unifying various cultures and ethnicity through sports. It is well organised to deliver support to all organising committees and participants of the National Sports Festival, raise more socially responsible citizens, represent advancement in Nigeria and promote the unity and strength promoted in National sports.
The idea was to get people to replicate this culture in their communities, giving back to orphanages, schools, old peoples homes and various need centres.
The programme commenced with a three (3) days training for the three (3) batches of volunteers at the sports bar of the stadium. The training kicked off with a short history on the National Sports Festival by Professor Clement O. Fasan of the Lagos State University (LASU), followed by a general orientation and understanding the role of the volunteer’ by Elsie Nemieboka of Midgit Personal Services International. Modules on customer service/emotional intelligence, communication skills/appearance and grooming. Crowd control/conflict management were taken by the PGL Image Consulting team consisting of Alero Abada, Yetunde Bankole-Bernard and Toba Aboyeji.
This was followed by the deployment session on Saturday 24th November, 2012 where the volunteers assembled at the same venue for physical exercises, martial arts training, deployment to their various groups/tasks, accreditation and collection of engagement letters for their volunteering services. They were deployed to serve in key areas of the event which includes protocol, security, medical team, transport, venue and facilities management, catering among others.
During a recent visit to different locations where the games are currently ongoing, the volunteers were seen bringing to life the vision of Lagos state government and dutifully serving our fatherland. The level of organization, co-operation and the spirit of friendship amongst the volunteers regardless of their ethnic groups, religion, profession or qualifications is highly commendable. Most of the groups successfully appointed In-house executives and created a structure that fostered flawless delivery of their tasks. Countless reports have also been received of volunteers who have given beyond the stipulated quota of help required.
The experience of seeing these men and women selflessly commit their time,energy and resources to serve the Nation attests to the fact that Lagos state is indeed a trail blazer and it inspires the hope that a New Nigeria is possible.
Eko oni baje ooo!
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