Former President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Solomon Ogba, has attributed the success of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon to the vision of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Ogba, who was President of the AFN, between 2009 and April 2017, believes Lagos can host a world-class marathon race.
“Lagos has all the ingredients to host a world-class marathon. As President of AFN, I approached many officials of the Lagos State Government, but they didn’t welcome the idea. A few weeks after Ambode was sworn-in, I was still the head of AFN then, Nilayo Sports Management Limited sold the idea to him and he bought into it immediately.”
Ogba said because Ambode saw into the future, he bought into the idea the moment it was sold to him and has yielded results as one of the fastest growing marathons in the world.
“The IAAF and AIMS have a special interest in the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon so if you see their top officials at the third edition, don’t be surprised. Lagos is one of the few marathons in the world that got an IAAF Label after just two editions. This is a rare feat. The event had over 50,000 runners at the first edition and over 73,000 in the second, this is something you rarely find in any part of the world’’ said Ogba.
The President of the Bobsled & Skeleton Federation of Nigeria urged other Governors and corporate bodies to emulate Gov. Ambode and Access Bank.
“Nigeria does not have enough marathons and road races, Ambode and Access Bank have taken the lead with the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. I urge other governors and corporate bodies to emulate them; we need more races in Nigeria. New York State alone has over 70 marathons and road races in a year. Our political and business leaders must embrace marathon even if it for the health benefits alone,’’ Ogba emphasised.