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From right. Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; Chairman, Local Organizing Committee, Chief Solomon Ogba and Chairman Delta State Sport Commission, Tony Okowa during the closing ceremony of the21st African Senior Athletics Championship at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba. PIX: BRIPIN ENARUSAI
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta State chapter, has congratulated Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, and the good people of Delta State, and Nigerians on the successful hosting of the 21st Confederation of African Athletics, CAA Senior Athletics Championship, 2018, in the capital city of Asaba, from August 1st – 5th 2018.
The party also ridiculed efforts by the opposition and hack writers to make a non-issue the successful hosting of the event.
In a statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr. Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza, the noted with satisfaction that since March 2017, when Governor Okowa presented the state’s Letter of Acceptance to the visiting President of delegation in Government House, Asaba, indicating the willingness of Delta State to host CAA, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum and his the 2018 Confederation of African Athletics’ African Senior Athletics Championship, Ekwueme, as Governor Okowa is fondly called by admirers, has answered to his nickname not only by working with the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, also headed by a Deltan, Chief Solomon Ogba, but also proceeded to deliver the brand new, state-of-the-art, Stephen Keshi Stadium, which hosted the championship and has, in its own right, become one of the major legacy infrastructure projects, among many others, in the first tenure of his administration.
The statement reads: “The Delta PDP is particularly proud of the fact that Delta State and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa played a heroic and patriotic role by rescuing Nigeria from the shame and embarrassment of failing to host the 2018 African Athletics Championships, which had been ceded to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, after Lagos failed to concretize plans for hosting. Indeed, the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Shehu Gusau, captured it perfectly when he said, “I want to thank the Delta State Government for putting this competition together and making sure that it succeeded despite the challenges faced. The Delta State Government saved Nigeria after there was a mix up following the award of the rights to another State.”
“We are quite thrilled with the inspiring comments and praise showered on His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa by the Confederation of Africa Athletics President, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum who equally confirmed that Delta State practically rescued the CAA from the dilemma of choosing who to host when it was obvious that Lagos State had developed cold feet after accepting to host in 2016. He said; “I asked Solomon Ogba who was AFN president then what is going to happen and he told us Delta was ready to host. We are indeed lucky to be here at Asaba 2018. The efforts of the Delta State government at hosting must be appreciated by all.”
“We most respectfully join our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and the African continent, to express our heartfelt appreciation to the IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe, for describing our able and trust-worthy Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as a visionary leader. He said: “IAAF is grateful to the host city, [Asaba] and the State for their support towards the championship. Sports need visionary leaders like Governor Okowa and we are grateful that the stadium is ready and will be utilised for so many other competitions for years to come.”
“Our profound gratitude also goes to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), who deemed our Governor and leader Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, as worthy to be conferred with the prestigious NOC Merit Award, presented to him by the President of NOC, Engr. Habu Gumel, in recognition of his outstanding roles and contributions towards the development of sports in the country and we are even personally gratified to hear that the positive impact which Delta State has made in the hosting of the of the 21st Confederation of African Athletics Senior Athletics Championship in Asaba, has spurred the AFN President to declare boldly that Nigeria will be bidding to host 2025 World Athletics Championships and motivated the IAAF President Lord Sebastien Coe to openly declare, after watching the excellent hosting of the CAA in Asaba, that Africa could host the competition in 2025 and the continent would be awarded the rights to host the world, when the bid comes,” Osuoza stated.
And deriding traducers of the governor and the state government for trying to ridicule the largely successful hosting of the athletic continental fiesta, the party stated: “Of course, we undoubtedly recognize the nuisance value and pathetic belly-aching campaign of calumny by the opposition and some detractors who, in their usual garrulous manner, attempted to make a song and dance over an isolated incident that had no recognizable impact on the successful prosecution of the events and satisfactory conclusion of the championships. It is only to be expected that they would be lurking in the shadows like sinister hawks, waiting, praying and hoping for any kind of misfortune to happen, but they were sadly disappointed that all the elements, including the beautiful weather, worked together in unanimous consonance to make Asaba 2018 a resounding success.”
The Delta State PDP was full of comforting words for the winners and participants of the tourney. “To the winners of the 21st African Athletics Confederation, CAA Senior Athletics Championship, we say a big congratulations, and to all the other participating countries we say well done. Hosting 52 African nations in such a massive sporting extravaganza is no mean feat, especially as it concerns security, guest relations, hospitality, brand and human management and indeed, the huge expectations it offers in terms of igniting some economic revival in its wake. But we did it successfully.
“We in Delta PDP are very impressed with the excitement and enthusiasm showed not only by the government under the able and dynamic leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in the preparations, hosting and conclusion of this historic continental sports showpiece on the shores of our State and we are fully convinced that this monumental event will definitely serve as a veritable platform to build on other continental and global events in the future and further advance on the path of excellence, astute governance and more visionary engagements, which our ‘Ekwueme’ is quite capable of achieving.
“Most importantly, we express our overwhelming thanks to Deltans who once again exhibited their overflowing love for the PDP and their Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, by turning out en masse to support, cheer and ultimately create a carnivalesque
atmosphere of pomp, fanfare and celebration, which not only embraced our guests from the continent with our unrivalled warmth and hospitality but equally put Asaba, Delta State and Nigeria on the continental and global map in international reckoning.
“Africa came to Delta and Asaba was a fantastic host. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has distinguished himself as a patriotic Nigerian by making it possible for Asaba to host the 21st Senior Athletics Championships successfully. Thank you, Ekwueme. Your word is your bond and you have made Delta, Nigeria and Africa proud.
“God Bless Delta State!
Long Live PDP,” Osuoza declared.