By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has assured that ongoing general renovation work on Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba would be completed in readiness for the hosting of the 2018 edition of the African Senior Athletics Championship.
Okowa, who gave the assurance when he inspected the 22,000-capacity stadium yesterday, expressed satisfaction with pace of work carried out in the facility after just two months since the contractor commenced the renovation project, saying the work would be completed by May if the tempo was sustained.
The governor was accompanied by senior officials of the state’s Sports Commission, including the Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Chief Tonobok Okowa and former President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Championship, Mr. Solomon Ogba.
Governor Okowa noted that the fact the project was being handled under a public private partnership arrangement (PPP) meant that good quality job would be delivered as the contractor could not afford to do a shoddy job, being responsible for sourcing the funds for the execution of the project.
He said facilities in the stadium were being given a total overhaul to meet with international sporting standards and expressed excitement at the opportunity of hosting the respective African countries’ athletics ambassadors in Delta State continent.
In the words of the governor, “It is good that we are here today to see the level of work done; you can see that the contractor is working to deliver the job to international standards. What you are witnessing is the reconstruction of the stadium; it was redesigned to accommodate nine lanes, and I am satisfied with the level of work done so far.
“We are ready to host Africa because the championship will make people from different parts of Africa to gather in our state. It will be a thing of joy for us to host Africa. The benefits of hosting the championship cannot be quantified, don’t forget sports is a unifying factor all over the world and that unity, peace and love for one another will be celebrated during the championship.”
The Governor inspected the various sections of the stadium, including the grassing of the field, construction of the nine-lane tartan tracks, the VIP lounges, training areas, swimming pool and indoor sports hall.