ASABA/Nigeria: Remarks about the just concluded Senior African Athletic Championship Competition hosted by the Delta State Government at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, between August 1-4, 2018, will be heard for longtime to come from different stakeholders and interest groups in the country.
The competition which had been trailed with a lot of criticism, especially from the foreign press, and some Nigerians passived to be opponents of the Delta state government, had at various foray from the commencement of arrival of the athletics and officials at the Multala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, lashed at the governor for what they had called abysmal preparation, to what a renowned columnist and former media Aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Ruben Abati called a disgrace attempt to host Africa, and All Progressive Congress, APC Chieftain and Governorship hopeful, Professor Pat Utomi, for what the later called waste of state resources to a tone of N4 Billion.
Reacting to the various accusations a frontrunner to Ndokwa East Constituency Seat in the Delta State House of Assembly, and member of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Engr. Philip Ugbomah, a Civil Engr had dismissed the negative evaluation and rating of the event, as he gave Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the LOC a path on the back for a job welldone.
Engr Ugbomah who was in the course of his consultation over the weekend, enumerated the achievements of the Okowa’s government and the need for Deltans to return him for second term, said the 2018 CAA for a longtime to come will be remembered by Deltans, especially resident of Asaba, who economically benefitted from the event.
The House of Assembly hopeful, said that despite the shot notice, in less than a year, the government completed the abandoned Asaba Stadium, which for nearly 20 years was left untouched, and was at the state of decay, and concluded that the Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa deserves praise.
“Let us not forget that His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa got the right to host the event on behalf of Nigeria, who was giving the right, and Lagos was chosen, but could not meet up, not that they don’t have the facilities. Delta, Asaba came in to save the nation, who would had lost the right to host it.”
He reminded those who are criticizing the event, that even in the most perfect situation there will always arise issues, bothering on the event, saying that the incidents that happened in Lagos should not be placed on the shoulders of the state, as the event was an international one, which means the federal government has the full responsibility to ensure that the necessary comfort is provided for the participants on arrival.
“Let us not forget that this was an international, cum African event. This means that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through its various ministries and departments, incharge of such event supposed to be on ground to provide the necessary support services. The states in Nigeria, as we know, have no right to issue visa, and we also know that planes don’t fly the Nigerian Airspace and land in Nigerian airports after 11 pm. Let the critics in these areas praise Delta, for cleaning the shame that Nigeria would had faced.” He stressed.
“This government, Delta, need praise, and supports. The governor took risk, and to tell you how the success of the competition was to him, right from the airport the day he returned from his vacation, he went straight to inspect the stadium.
“This stadium, from what I learnt, like other uncompleted stadiums in the state was never in the governors agenda in his first term. But again, one of his policies is to ensure that ongoing projects before May 29, 2015 are completed.”
“The 2018 CAA, provided a window of opportunity, and money that was meant for other services in the state, was diverted to work on the stadium, to host Africa, because of the social and economic benefits, which will not only come to Delta, but the entire country ”
He reminded the critics that the completion of the stadium is not a one term event, as Asaba is now open to international and National sport events, which is an added economic advantage, as the state had opened another source of income, for the people, as the stadium will be put into regular use.
“The Asaba Stadium is a channel of income to the state. From now, we expect sport events and other national and international events to hold in Asaba. It is a long term income generating project. And I expect us to look at it from that angle.”