- Millions Rain at Fund Raising DinnerÂ asÂ OkowaÂ Gets Accolades forÂ Keshi Stadium
Host CityÂ AsabaÂ and Delta State Government of organising the CAAÂ AsabaÂ 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships got a boost over the weekend as millions of nairaÂ wereÂ raised at dinner organised to raise fund for the event at Grand HotelÂ Asaba.
Hon.Â BukolaÂ OlopadeÂ the consultant for the dinner told newsmen shortly before the end of the dinner that the response ofÂ DeltansÂ and friends of Delta was very good,
â€œIÂ canâ€™t giveÂ youÂ the exact figure now, more donations and pledges are still coming but we highly impressed by peoplesâ€™ responseâ€.
Zenith Bank Plc led the donors at the event with the sumÂ of N300 million while Bube DanÂ gave N20 million, Levant Construction N20 million, Gomene N11 million, Delta State House of Assembly N7 million, Federal Ministry ofÂ Youth andÂ SportsÂ Development withÂ N5 million,Â among others.Â
Some corporate organisations and individuals made their donations anonymously.
Governor IfeanyiÂ Okowa, his wife, Dame Okowa, Deputy Governor Kingsley Otuaro, Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. SheriffÂ Oborevwori,Â LOC Chairman SolomonÂ Ogba, his deputy TonyÂ Okowa, Â Minister ofÂ Sports,SolomonÂ Dalung, President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN),Â Ibrahim Gusau, among numerous others attended the fundraisingÂ
â€œIn less than three weeks from today, athletes from 47 African countries, as well as officials,Â will begin to converge inÂ Asaba for this historic event. It is historic in the sense that though this is the second time Nigeria will be hosting this event, this is the first to be held outsideÂ Lagos,â€ GovernorÂ OkowaÂ said at the occasion.
He disclosed that he accepted for Delta State to host theÂ ChampionshipsÂ being organised by the Confederation of AfricanÂ AthleticsÂ (CAA)Â becaus
â€œApart from being a dominant force in the National Sports Festival inÂ years gone by,Â Delta State has produced foremost international athletes such as Tony Urhobo, Maria Usifor, Violet Odogwu-Nwajei,Â SundayÂ Uti, Blessing Okagbare and many others. However, in recent times, it does seem like athletics is taking a backseat, hence, our young ones do not see much hope inÂ pursuing a career in athletics. We believeÂ thatÂ this event has the strong potentials to reawaken the interest and consciousness of the upcoming generation and motivate them to strive for greatness in athletics,â€ the governor said.
He continued, â€œOnÂ our own, we have delivered on our promise; the Stephen Keshi Stadium is ready for the event. It was toughÂ but, we got it done and the stadium is actually a beauty to behold.â€
Minister for Sports, in a speech, described Governor Okowa as a performer who saved Nigeria the shame of failing to host the tournament.
â€œIf this type of stadium is replicated in every part of Nigeria, no Nigerian will pass through the Sahara to look for greener pasturesÂ becauseÂ they will be engaged.Â Asaba,Â in future,Â may hostÂ theÂ world championship because of the quality of facilities at the stadium,â€ Barr. Dalung said, adding, â€œGovernor Okowa is a performer, in 2019, people who have not performed should be booted out of officeâ€.