By Chidipeters Okorie
Hosting the Nigeria National Sports Festival 2022 is costing Delta State government billions of naira, a scale of expenditure that has made the event appealing to many countries around the world. The gigantic sports complex in Asaba, the State capital, will have a billion dollar benefits from sports tourism than they may hoped. Much more than that, the Executive Chairman, Delta State Commission, Chief Tonobok Okowa looks at the games with a different calculus. The State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has long relied on heavy investments in building highways and other infrastructure to provide robust economy for millions of its citizens.
With the 2022 games, there are hopes the State Government will continue to nurture an abiding interest in sports, says Chief Tonobok Okowa.
He said the State setting is a standard for other states jostling to host the next edition to beat.
Okowa, who is also the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN, said as the defending Champions, Delta State has the capacity to lake in more gold medals.
“Delta State is a home of sports and it’s the only state that has a winning culture radiating in its DNA. Sports is an indigene of Delta State and it’s not ready to leave its state of origin for any reason.
“The secret to that is motivation and the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency, Sen (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa is an epitome of motivation. The Governor is always ready to go extra miles and bring succour to mankind, athletes, officials , and spectators alike attending this fiesta can attest to this submission.
“The hospitality, infrastructure, logistic arrangements put in place in terms of movement of officials to and fro the venues are super standard. Though we might not be 100% perfect but it can be contrasted with previous editions.
“We have infrastructural facilities used in 2018 African Youth championships which we have improved upon in line with global best practices. Some of the foreign athletes like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Benin Republic have arrived and they will all contest in this edition to motivate and give confidence to our home grown athletes. Competing with foreign athletes will give our budding talents a sense of global champions even while they are still in Nigeria”, the Commissioner concluded.
It would be recalled that under leadership of Tonobok Okowa as AFN President, Nigeria exhibited a great deal of winning multiple medals at the U20 World Athletic Championship in Kenya.