As a sport professional, my pains close to four years of Obaseki government in Edo, is the zero absence of Edo at the sporting arena, which is the state’s socioeconomic industry, where for more than five decades she commands high level of experience, and expertise, essentially her net exports across Nigera and the entire world.
Too often, a man is not greater than his dreams. Until it is actualised, a dream remains a personal passion for the dreamer. Even when it is shaped, it is only those who can see it that will run with it.
Such were the big dreams and the realities of the Midwest, the landmark achievements of one man, Brigadier General(rtd) Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia who transformed the state in sports with unassuming young athletes who became instant conquerors. Nigerian states and opposing athletes were amazed and remained absolutely awe-stricken by the sheer brilliance of athletes of Edo extraction. What an era of glorious all-conquering athletes created by General Ogbemudia of blessed memory?
A one-man revolution brought the evolution and the creation of jobs. Young men and women became colossal successes and turned celebrities overnight.
Dr. Ogbemudia’s yeoman achievements were hinged on school children having regular sport competitions in both divisional and zonal levels of the state. The late general gave scholarships and took personal interest in their education and training. The former military governor also set up the College of Physical Education in Afuze to hone the skills of teachers and athletes alike and the defunct Midwest’s numero uno position in the First National Sports Festival held in Lagos in 1973 was easily established. That victory is legendary.
But the creation of Delta State from Bendel with the other renamed Edo has destroyed the myth and the invisibility of the “heart” which was the nucleus of the defunct Midwest or Bendel.
Recall the heartbeat as an aspirational mantra of Edo was derived mainly from the sporting prowess of the Edo State and people.
Interesting, it could be observed that this imperious power declined under Obaseki’s watch, like no other dispensation which is why Edo has completely abandoned this success to Delta. Without doubt, Edo is presently not just a shadow of itself, but the state is absent and has indeed become a sad spectator in sporting activities.
Ongoing through the Simple Agenda menu on sport, it is suffice to say that Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has embraced the enormous task which includes jobs creation that would take youths off the streets with sporting industry. It is obvious that a conscientious plan anchored on sincerity of purpose, which the Simple Agenda treatises on sports represent would reduce the unemployment of the youths like the Ogbemudia’s era.
No doubt, thousands of reasons could be adduced to express a possible happiness over a new sheriff at the Dennis Osadebe Avenue come September 19.
Olu Amadasun is a former board member of the Nigeria Football Federation and former President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria