In a bid to strengthen ties and promote goodwill, Kakalistiq.com reports that the Nigerian Army hosted the maiden edition of Tombola Night at the 81 Base Ordnance Depot of the Nigerian Army Cantonment in Epe. The event, held on Friday, December 15, 2023, brought together soldiers and civilians from the Epe community for an evening of camaraderie, games, and delightful winnings.
This initiative comes against the backdrop of historical hostilities and tensions between the Nigerian Army and the Epe community, particularly in Iraye, over alleged illegal land takeovers. The House of Representatives, led by Rep. Wale Raji, is actively involved in addressing the conflicts to ensure a harmonious resolution.
Lt. Col. O.E.O. Osawe, in charge of the Tombola Night, explained that the event is a tradition in the Nigerian Army initiated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, to foster cordial relationships between soldiers and the host community. While Tombola Night is organized in various parts of the country, the Military Cantonment in Epe held its inaugural edition, marking a significant step in promoting understanding and unity.
“We brought everybody together here tonight for them to know that we are here for them. We are not their enemies but are here to protect them and ensure there is peace and harmony in Ephesus,” stated Lt. Col. O.E.O. Osawe.
The night featured games of Tombola, followed by a raffle draw with exciting prizes, including a cow, a washing machine, bags of rice, electrical appliances, and substantial cash prizes. The winners expressed joy and gratitude, symbolizing a shared spirit of unity and goodwill.
Earlier, High Chief Charles Olufemi Keshinro, the Civilian Chairman of the Officers’ Mess, Epe, emphasized the lively atmosphere at the Mess and the intention to include civilians as honorary members. He encouraged a friendly perception of both soldiers and police, stating, “The police are your friends, just as soldiers are our friends.”
Hon. Ajisefini Ajibola, the Tombola Chairman, echoed the significance of the event, which is to foster friendly relationships. He mentioned the contributions of local representatives, Hon. Wale Raji, Hon. Abiodun Tobun, Hon. (Princess) Surah Animashaun, and Engr. Adeniyi Ogunsanya, towards easing tensions over land issues in Epe.
The successful maiden edition of Tombola Night, no doubt, served as a meaningful step towards healing historical rifts and fostering a renewed sense of community between the Nigerian Army and the people of Epe.