The Trust was delighted to be invited to Lagos in February by local businessman Brian Voakes to explore the potential of a Commonwealth Walkway in Nigeria. Brian, also a resident of Eton where the Trust has also recently built the Eton Walkway, kindly invited several distinguished people to a meeting and a Lagos Commonwealth Walkway Committee has since been formed. Membership includes Mr Olasupo Shasore SAN, a lawyer and previously the Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State; Mr Christopher Okeke, an Ambassador Designate for Nigeria; and Polly Alakija, a Nigerian community artist.
Jim Walker with Chris Okeke, Supo Shasore and Brian Voakes at the first meeting of the Nigerian Commonwealth Walkway Committee in Lagos on 20 Feb 2017.
On Tuesday 21 February the team visited the King of Lagos, His Royal Majesty Oba Riliwanu Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I. His Majesty and The White-Cap Chiefs hosted the team at the Oba Palace in Lagos and graciously gave the green light to the project and offered the support of The Honorable Adekunle Alli, who is Nigeria's foremost historian/curator on the history of Lagos. A photo was taken before an informative tour of the Palace.
The King of Lagos, His Royal Majesty Oba Riliwanu Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I with the Nigerian Commonwealth Walkway Committee.
During the rest of the week the team then explored Lagos and drafted a 5km potential Walkway route. The Walkway, which takes about 2 hours to enjoy, connects 20 points of particular Commonwealth Significance including:
01 The National Museum of Lagos
02 Old Parliament Building
03 Tafawa Balewa Square
04 Independence Monument
05 Lagos High Court
06 Kings College
07 City Hall
08 Freedom Park
09 The Legislative Council
10 The Police Magistrate Court
11 Tinubu Square
12 Glover Memorial Hall
13 Lagos Point
14 Christchurch Cathedral
15 Wesley House, The Iron Coffin
16 The Colonial Secretariat
17.Okko Michael Tram stop
* 20 The Oba's Palace.
Unfortunately it was not possible in the time available to meet directly with Mr Alhaji Lai Mohamed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, on this first trip however he has already kindly indicated support for the project, recognising the potential for the Walkway to support a new wave of tourism in Nigeria.
Further meetings are planned by the Committee in the next few weeks to build further support and finances to complete the Walkway in Lagos. The team are mindful that Lagos will be celebrating 50th anniversary of Lagos State on 27 May 2017 which might be a useful date to connect the creation of the new Walkway so watch this space!