Outstanding in enthusiasm for sports
IN 2018, Chief Willie Obiano took a bold step by making sure that the sports department of the state stood independently on his own; a decision that has given rise to development in the sports sector in all parts of Anambra State. The commission, which was not up to three years, impressed people beyond expectations by hosting an unprecedented sports festival – Nigeria Police Games, in 2020, which happened to be one of the best in recent years.
“This game started in 1946 and has become regular event and also produced global sporting stars. We assure you that new stars have been discovered in this very game and I commend the athletes. I am proud of you all and I commend you for your composure. Thanks to Governor Obiano for hosting us and also ensuring he met all the promises. Awka 2020 is the best in recent times and a clear testimony of the state governor’s strength.”
These were the exact words of former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu in March 2020, after the police games. The record was beyond the state as it was the first to be hosted in the entire South East region. As a matter of fact, as at the time, the police festival generated more revenue than any other sector in the state. During the event, Obiano, who spoke to journalists at Oma Event Centre after watching a kickboxing match said: “We have about 15,000 people who came into the state from outside.
“If they spend at least N100,000, we will have fresh N1.5billion which has been injected into the state.
The police guys enter buses here and pay, the bus driver buys fuel, the fuel seller buys fish and so money keeps circulating.
“It is to the glory of God that we are hosting and we thank God they chose us and everything is working perfectly for now.”
Obiano said that the hosting right had helped the state to upgrade its facilities and even build new ones.
Prior to the Nigeria police games in 2020, Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, was just used to host rallies, conventions, and any other event depending on the host. But Obiano transformed the place to a mini multi-purpose stadium. The football pitch has been evenly leveled and graded with grasses planted. A standard swimming pool was constructed, two volleyball courts emerged, with two basketball courts and a handball court. Not only that, karate, boxing and Judo training centers are all functional there. The irony of the situation is the fact that children lesser than age 15 are all interested and are fully invested in Judo and karate classes.
Alex Ekwueme transformation led to the performance of 10-year-old Stephanie Onusiriuka, the gymnast wonder kid who won one gold, two silvers and one bronze and got a total of N2.250 million for her exploit from the governor as she hijacked the Edo 2020 attraction to her side. Anambra State went on to bag 37 medals in Edo 2020, which include six gold, 20 silvers and 22 bronzes during the festival.
Gov. Obiano of Anambra further splashed medalists and coaches to the National Sports Festival (NSF), tagged, ‘Edo 2020’ with N20 million.
Other achievements in sports include creating of Anambra State owned football teams, which are Anambra bombers for the males and Anambra Babes for the female. To that effect, the governor started building a stadium in the heart of the state capital.
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