Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu says the state is using the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival in Benin City to relaunch sports in the state.
Shaibu, who is also the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the festival, said the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration was on the verge of completing a 30-year sports master-plan that would make the state a force to reckon with once again.
“We are using the sports festival to relaunch ourselves to what we used to be. The Governor has decided that we have to take over our heritage and help the country in the area of facilities and talents discovery. Our target is to contribute athletes in all events to the centre and we hope to bequeath this legacy to future generations,” Shaibu stated at the Conference Hall of the world-class Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Wednesday.
“In view of this, we are leaving the sports council era to the commission era in conformity with global best practices.
“Our activities are policy driven and we are concluding a 30-year master-plan for the state, it’s being legislated upon and will become a law very soon.
“So,we are conscious of what we are doing and very soon the gains of this National Sports Festival would be there for all to see.”
Shaibu added that the state had also put in place a structure to ensure private sector funding for sports in the state.
“Government is still a big spender in sports but we don’t want this. We are trying to reduce government involvement and increase private funding.
“We started with Edo Insurance and Edo Queens. We dissolved their boards and set up a five-man team to manage both clubs. When we came, Insurance had a budget of about N300m, but the players were still owed salaries. People gave them money to survive, they had no bus to travel for games. They had 280 staff who managed just 40 players.
“So, we rebranded Insurance and dissolved their board. Today, Insurance have a Coaster Bus courtesy of merchandise, not government. So, even if another government that is not interested in sports comes in, both teams (Insurance and Queens) will find themselves.”
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