Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos took time out on Children’s Day, May 27th, to have a sit-out with Ferdinand, a chess champion from the Venice of Africa, Makoko.
Ferdinand who is ten years of age has never had any form of formal education prior to his learning how to play the board game.
Born with cerebral palsy, Ferdinand is a quiet boy whose condition and poor background deprived him of an education, friends and the care he needed to treat his illness.
Then came Tunde Onakoya who visited the slums where he lives, mobilised children in the area and taught them the game. After the training, he organised a chess championship where Ferdinand Maumo emerged as the champion, beating other kids who had an advantage of being “normal.”
Tunde said of him, “After two intense weeks of chess lessons in the slums of Makoko, we held a tournament to test their understanding of the game and celebrate their excellence. The miracle child with Cerebral palsy Fredinard Won with a phenomenal performance. A star is born.”
Makoko is an informal settlement across the 3rd Mainland Bridge located on the coast of mainland Lagos. A third of the community is built on stilts along the lagoon and the rest is on the land.Makoko is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of Africa” owing to its waterways.
Its population is considered to be 85,840; however, the area was not officially counted as part of the 2007 census and the population has been estimated to be much higher.
In July 2012, the Lagos State government ordered that some of the stilts beyond the power-lines be brought down without proper notice. This led to the destruction of several stilts on the Iwaya/Makoko waterfront and many families were rendered homeless.