After several years of planning, the retirement villa, a project spearheaded by Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO) has finally been completed and handed over to stakeholders in Lagos. The villa, which is one of a kind, is part of the pet project of the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Abimbola Emmanuela Fashola who is chairperson of COWLSO.
Situated in Lekki, the structure is a beautiful edifice made up of several compartment with recreational facilities, it is a modern structure by all standard.While handing over the project, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola expressed delight that continuity has become a way of life in Lagos State to the advantage of the citizens.
“These ideas are fundamental, they are important because in our lifetime we have witnessed instances where projects were abandoned by successors only because they did not start them. We have witnessed instances where the acquisition of land, as in this case, ended up in court. Although we have come to dedicate and commemorate a building, I think what we have come to dedicate and commemorate today actually is a greater cause, an idea, the idea that gave birth to this building, an idea that was resting in the heart and in the mind of the very First lady that Lagos had when it became a State, Mrs. Obafunmilayo Johnson”, the Governor said, adding that her idea is today represented by the word COWLSO and I think that is the idea that we all have gathered here to celebrate”.
Fashola said inherent in the idea that gave birth to COWLSO was the idea that people can serve without holding any public office adding, “that is the strong message that this building represents. It is the underlying raison d’etre of COWLSO, to fill in the gaps that we the men leave behind while pursuing the higher causes for public good”.
Fashola promised that his administration would continue from where the women stopped by providing furniture, drainage and power for the villa adding that the annual budget for the maintenance of the building would be incorporated into the state’s annual budget.
“To the extent that you fill our gaps, you have done very well. This is a cause that we should have championed and I salute you for championing it. However, from this moment forward all of those gaps that now exist here, furniture, drainage and PHCN, we will fill. We have set up an office of facility management for public buildings and infrastructure so we will incorporate whatever your annual budget for maintaining this building will be into the State annual budget”, the governor said.
In her remarks, the former First Lady and Grand Matron of COWLSO, Mrs. Obafunmilayo Johnson expressed joy that the committee has grown by leaps and bounds over the years adding that the commissioning of the villa represented the strength of heart of the women of COWLSO.
Mrs. Johnson who was represented at the occasion by Mrs. Olatoun Williams, who explained that the organisation came of age since 2004, COWLSO has come of age. “Your caring hearts has been demonstrated in the many projects you have done for the young people of Lagos. You have been a fortress and tower of strength for women”.
Senator Tinubu said the vision to build the Villa originated from her love for old people and the thought to find a place for them to be able to relax and connect with their past adding that many old retirees had died soon after their retirement as a result of boredom and loneliness.
She thanked Fashola, for bringing the vision to fruition. In her opening remarks, Mrs. Fashola pointed out that the project “was conceived and executed in recognition of the need to provide a venue for our active citizens, who have contributed to the development of our country and particularly Lagos State, to engage in healthy recreational activities in a conducive environment”. She thanked corporate organisations who contributed to make the vision a reality.