Benin City – Edo state Government has reaffirmed its commitment to sports development through investment in infrastructure to encourage sporting activities in order to return the state to the status of champions as it was in the days of old Bendel.
The state deputy governor,Rt Hon Philip Shaibu gave the assurance when he received some memebers of the Global Boxing Federation Organising Committee led by international boxing champion Alex Ruud Ekhorowa who were on a courtesy visit to Government House,Benin City.
Hon Shaibu said that the present administration in the state is not going to pay lip service to sports development,hence it has set up a committee to workout modalities for the establishment of sports commission and trust fund with the mandate to address all issues affecting sports in the state and make it self-sustaining.
“We are building strong institutions to give a sense of direction and confidence and as well make sustainable. We are also combining sports with education through school- sports development programme to catch them young. This would help athletes to still earn a living in other areas of endeavour after retirement from active sports career. We discovered that most of our ex-players’ problem after their short sporting career is lack of education. So, we want to start addressing that now to guarantee the future of our sports men and women in the state.” He explained.
He reassured that promise by Governor Godwin Obaseki to build mini stadia across the eighteen local government areas of the state would be fulfilled,adding that the wish of their administration is to see Edo producing the best athletes in the country and having highest representatives in national teams.
He assured the visiting boxing champion Alex Ekhorowa and his team of government support so long their business in the state is to boost sporting enthusiasm and to inspire the young ones.
In an address,the Secretary General of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control(NBBC) Mr Remi Abulerim who accompanied Alex Ekhorowa along with others said their visit was to intimate the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki with their plans to bring an international boxing bout to the state in December this year.
Also speaking, the international boxing champion Alex Ruud Ekhorowa who said he was prepared to face Ali Muhamed from Lebanon in the world light weight championship expressed confidence in the Obaseki administration. He added that hosting the global bout in Benin would bring more awareness about the game and as well rekindle the people’s enthusiasm.