In a resounding endorsement of the commitment of the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to sports development, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has acknowledged the governor’s efforts in revitalizing the State’s sporting landscape, hailing his visionary leadership and role in ensuring an enabling environment that fosters excellence in sports.
The President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa, said the governor has provided ‘solid infrastructure’ to drive sports development in the State and Country.
Governor Obaseki has in the past six years undertaken transformative reforms in the sports sector, investing in the upgrade of infrastructure and others which have repositioned the State as the nation’s number one sports destination.
The revamp of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, which has become the favourite ground for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) national trials, is a perfect example of the government’s unprecedented investment in sports.
The world-class stadium boasts of a 12,000-capacity covered arena, with natural turf and refitted running tracks; tennis and squash courts, a new Olympic size swimming pool and an indoor suspended gymnasium.
Other facilities at the stadium include those for weightlifting, wrestling, and other combat sports. The Stadium has also been outfitted with new high-capacity electronic score screens, floodlights, and Video Assistant Referee technology.
The Benin stadium is hosting the second consecutive AFN national trial, after it hosted the trials for both the World Championships in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in 2022. The trials currently ongoing in Benin City feature over 160 home and foreign-based athletes including world champion, Tobiloba Amusan, silver medalist at the last World Championships in Oregon, U.S., and Ese Brume, among others.
The AFN President while heaping praises on the Governor Obaseki-led state government, urged other States to emulate Edo.
Okowa while speaking to journalists in Benin said the government has been supporting the federation in recent years, with the state hosting the last edition of the trials.
“We find Benin comfortable for our national events. The infrastructure is solid,” he said.
“Most importantly, let me commend the Edo state government and the Governor for their magnanimity in hosting the 2023 World Athletics Championship Trials.”
The AFN President added, “The Edo State Government has done a lot, supporting the AFN. They have supported us with funding, accommodation, and feeding to ensure a successful hosting of the National event in Benin. I thank the Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy, Rt. Hon Philip Shaibu, for all that they have done for us.”
He expressed confidence that Amusan and Brume who already qualified will do Nigeria proud at the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championship.