By Omotunde Alawode
Lagos Ikoyi Lions Club recently inaugurated the Lion Oye Williams Garden, a recreational park on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, to enable people living and working within the environment to relax during break hours and after close of work.
District governor, 2021-2022, Fortune Wagbatsoma, who launched the facility, commended the club, noting that the step was a lasting legacy to immortalise one of their leaders, the late Mrs. Oye Williams.
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Aside from immortalising Mrs. Williams, the facility, she said, would help people in the environs to relax, and beautify the landscape.
“Relaxation is very important in these days of depression, hardship and inflation all over the world. If someone can come once in a week to relax, it surely would ease of anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure,” she said.
President, Lagos Ikoyi Lions Club, Abdulkarim Yusuf, said the Lion Oye Williams Garden had been adopted since 2017/2018 Lion’s Year.
“Lion Oye Williams happened to be the wife of Akintola Williams and the charter president of Lagos Ikoyi Lion’s Club. What we are doing here is to immortalise her name,” he said.
According to him, one of the five focus areas of the club is safety of the environment. The other areas are paediatric cancer, feeding the hungry, vision and diabetes. These are areas in which Lions Club carries out its service activities.
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“But in addition to that, we do community service assessment to access what actually is the need of the environment. This particular project is in one of the focus areas, safety of the environment. With the commissioning today, it’s going to be opened to the public; they can come in and relax. You could notice that on the stretch of Awolowo Road there’s no place for people working to relax and continue their journey. So, this garden is meant to give them that opportunity to have a place to relax.
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“In the garden are chairs, we have planted umbrella trees to provide the necessary shade for people who will be relaxing. There’s going to be a kiosk to buy refreshments. While they are there, there’s an open library, where they could learn what Lions do.
“The site belongs to Lagos State Parks and Gardens. If you are adopting, you do all the necessary paperwork to take over the garden for maintenance and ensuring it’s in good shape at all times. So, it’s like adopting a baby from the motherless babies’ home. Once you adopt a baby, the responsibility is on you to ensure you give the baby a better life,” he said.
Shakiru Adeniyi Balogun, a candidate contesting the position of second vice-district governor of the club, applauded the club for making it a point of duty to focus on environment this Lions Year.
“We can all see that they have beautified this environment with the little development they made here. The garden adds to the aesthetics of this environment. Neighbours around here can relax and enjoy themselves. This is one of the core values of Lionism, this is core project of Lionism and I’m happy to be associated with this laudable project,” he said.
Moreover, Soledotun Abdulkarim-Yusuf explained that climate change was inevitable, therefore, there was urgent need to take care of the environment.
“That is why we adopted this place to manage and maintain it and to serve humanity. We want the community to enjoy part of our humanity,” she said.
She said the people in the neighbourhood have been enjoying the garden, and even those who do not living in the locality often come there to relax and enjoy the fresh air, adding that corporate people sit with their laptops and after a while take their leave: “People can come to the garden, bring their laptops, do one or two things while they are relaxing, while they wait for the traffic to subside before they move on. The garden is open and beneficial because, if you look at someone going to the mainland, because of the traffic, he could come here and relax and go home later.”