Host City Asaba and Delta State Government of organizing CAA Asaba 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships got a boost over the weekend as millions of naira were raised at dinner organized to raise funds for the event at Grand Hotel Asaba. Bukola Olopade the consultant for the dinner told newsmen shortly before the end of the dinner that the response of Deltans and friends of Delta was very good, “I can’t give you the exact figure now, more donations and pledges are still coming but we highly impressed by peoples’ response.”
Zenith Bank Plc led the donors at the event with the sum of N300m while Bube Dan gave N20m, Levant Construction N20m, Gomene N11m, Delta State House of Assembly N7m, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development -N5m, among others. Some corporate organisations and individuals made their donations anonymously. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa,his wife, Dame Okowa, Deputy Governor Kingsley Otuaro, Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, LOC Chairman Solomon Ogba, his deputy Tony Okowa, Minister of Sports,Solomon Dalung, President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Ibrahim Gusau, among numerous others attended the fundraising “In less than three weeks from today, athletes from 47 African countries, as well as officials, will begin to converge in 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 outside Lagos,” Governor Okowa said at the occasion. He disclosed that he accepted for Delta State to host the Championships being organised by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) because it provides a “glorious opportunity to further our agenda to regain Delta’s frontline status in sports by hosting this event.” “Apart from being a dominant force in the National Sports Festival in years gone by, Delta State has produced foremost international athletes such as Tony Urhobo, Maria Usifor, Violet Odogwu-Nwajei, Sunday 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 in pursuing a career in athletics. We believe that 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,” the governor said.
He continued: “On our own, we have delivered on our promise; the Stephen Keshi Stadium is ready for the event. It was tough but, we got it done and the stadium is actually a beauty to behold.” Minister for Sports, in a speech, described Governor Okowa as a performer who saved Nigeria the shame of failing to host the tournament.