When Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, through an Executive order, scrapped the state’s Ministry of Sports and created in its place, the Edo State Sports Commission in September, 2018, many people raised eyebrows. But almost 12 months afterwards, the Governor’s move is proving to be a step in the right direction. As the bill for the commission nears legislative backing, BRANDPOWER examines the transformative effects the commission is set to unleash on both the economy and sports administration of Edo state.
Obaseki (Middle) with players and officials of the Edo state football team, Bendel Insurance recently.
As a way of fulfilling one of its core electioneering campaign promises to the people of Edo state especially in the area of sports development, Governor Godwin Obaseki, in September 2018, scrapped the State’s Ministry of sports and created in its place the Edo state sports commission (EDSSC). According to the governor, the move was informed by his desire to professionalise sports administration in the state.The appointment of veteran sports administrator and respected sports pundit, Barrister Godwin Dudu-Orumen sealed Governor Obaseki’s granite determination to take sports back to its Olympian heights in Edo state. About a year later, the Edo State Sports Commission has started delivering some expected positive results. The promising nature of the commission has endeared the state House of Assembly members to its implementation. The lawmakers believe that the commission will transform sports management in the state and they have begun the legislative process that will legally solidify its establishment. The bill that will legalise the commission has recently scaled through the second reading, putting it within short distance of being passed into law.
Findings have shown that the present Edo State House of Assembly led by Frank Okiye has since its inauguration worked assiduously in tandem with the Obaseki-led executive arm in a bid to drive the development of sports in the state. The lawmakers have lent credence to this with the fast approach employed in the passage of the sports commission bill into law as a demonstration of his commitment to the project.
Expressing his excitement on the passing of the commission’s bill, Dudu-Orumen said the bill, scaling the second reading was a welcome development. “We are clearly excited by the development and thank Hon. Speaker Frank Okiye and members of the House for this laudable step. It is clear from their expeditious treatment of this bill that they appreciate the enormous impact sports will have on the GDP of Edo State and youth empowerment.
In fulfilment of its commitment towards the development of sports in the state, Dudu-Orumen said the Commission, on behalf of the government and people of Edo State, has put plans in top gear towards hosting the National Sports Festival in 2020.He stated that even beyond the Sports Festival, the commission will institute sound corporate governance in the administration of sports and ensure the nurturing and development of sports at the grassroots as well as establish strong partnership with the private sector for funding. He expressed optimism that the commission going by its determination to innovate and inculcate the spirit of excellence among youth and the sporting community will turn Edo State into the major sporting hub not only in Nigeria but across Africa.
FIFA delighted with Edo state Sport facilities
In the meantime, following Nigeria’s bid to host the 2020 edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup alongside India and South Korea, the FIFA inspection team, which visited the country recently on an inspection tour of facilities, expressed satisfaction at the state of facilities in Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
The FIFA inspection team, which included Christopher Exley, Sara Jane Booth, Kliment Taseki, Rhiannon Ceirwen Martin and Heyral Kaj Jurgen, were conducted round facilities in Benin City on Tuesday alongside the President of the Nigerian Football federation, Amaju Pinnick, head of the Women’s Football League, Aisha Falode, and head of Women’s football at the federation, Ruth David.
The officials of FIFA and NFF assessing the plan for sporting facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium.
The FIFA and NFF officials were conducted round facilities, which included the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, practice pitches at Western Boys High School, one of the mini stadia the government is building for the event, and the Protea Hotel by Edo State Sports Commission Chairman, Godwin Dudu-Orumen and other officials of the Commission.
The FIFA team later paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of the State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, who assured them that the state was not only willing to host the matches of the tournament but was more than capable of doing so.
The Edo State Governor said the 2020 World Cup was coinciding with the 2020 National Sports Festival, which Edo State would be hosting. He said long before the decision by FIFA to inspect facilities in the state, his government had commenced the construction of facilities and the refurbishing of existing ones for the games. He said some of these facilities would be used for the 2020 World Cup.
In addition to these, the Governor said some of the best hotels in the country are located in Benin City. He added that with the depth and rich heritage of Edo culture, which is acknowledged all over the world, visitors to the state during the tournament would have a lot to enjoy.