A group of leading Edo businessmen and professionals have indicated their readiness to partner with the Edo State Sports Commission (ESSC) headed by Barrister Godwin Dudu-Orumen, to transform sports in Edo State.
The Edo Development Organization (E.D.O) comprising individuals of diverse professional background, is a non-governmental organization looking to create value for Edo State through the realization of sustainable community- spirited initiatives, met recently in Benin City with Dudu-Orumen, the newly appointed chairman of the commission, who unfolded his vision for Edo State Sports.
The meeting explored areas of cooperation between ESSC and the commission with EDO promising to throw its weight behind Dudu-Orumen’s efforts to reposition Edo sports to enable it reclaim its position as the hub of sporting excellence in the country. The group, which decried the deplorable state of sports in the state, said it was confident that with Dudu-Orumen, a renowned sports administrator noted for both his passion for sports development and unimpeachable integrity, a new dawn had arrived for sports in Edo State.
Mr Ekhator Osaretin Moses, who spoke on behalf of E.D.O said the group was ready to offer all the necessary support to ensure that Dudu-Orumen and his team at the commission meet the expectation of Governor Godwin Obaseki who has shown strong commitment to transform sports in the state by having capable individuals drive the process.
“We have had fruitful discussion with the Chairman of the Commission and his team. We have let them know that as a group of individuals committed to excellence and development of Edo State in every way possible, we are willing to partner with the commission to bring about significant improvement in Edo State sports. Everyone knows that Edo was once the Premier centre of sports in the country with its sons and daughters winning laurels in major local and international competitions and among the leading athletes in the world. Today, the situation is different. A tell-tale sign of this deplorable state of affairs is the exodus of its sons and daughters to foreign countries. Some have even abandoned the state to compete for other states in Nigeria where they win laurels for those states.
“We have the professional resources in multiple ways to assist Edo State through pragmatic initiatives to halt this negative trend and are willing to engage and support the ESSC in this regard. We are encouraged by the appointment of Barrister Dudu-Orumen, who has the intellectual wherewithal in addition to a strong commitment and integrity, to pull off this onerous assignment,” Moses said.
Dudu-Orumen thanked members of E.D.O for their interest in, and their willingness to team up with the ESSC to revolutionize sports in the state. He said he was ready to do all that was necessary to justify the confidence placed in him by Governor Obaseki and by extension, the people of Edo State. The ESSC boss said he was under no illusion that the task before him would be easy but said he was willing to give it his best shot.
“I do not expect that things will turn around overnight. It will take serious effort and commitment to effect this but we are more than ready to deploy these, Dudu-Orumen said.
He listed the main tasks before him as: Empowerment of youths and young adults through the platform of sports; development of grassroots sports for schools leading to the introduction of collegiate sports as the benchmark for representing Edo State in local and international competitions and reviving Edo State Sports facilities like the Ogbe Hard Court, the Afuze Sports Centre, which will return as a High-Performance Centre and an Olympic Training Camp.
Others are: complementing the efforts of the Deputy Governor in returning Bendel Insurance FC, to the Nigerian Premier League and ensure it becomes the household name it was in the halcyon days, and enhancing the quality and profile of the Okpekpe Road Race and also initiate new competitions to make Edo State the number one Sports Tourism destination.
He called on all current Edo sportsmen and retired ones at home and in the Diaspora, big business and small business, and all men and women of goodwill, to emulate the Edo Development Organization and assist the commission to return Edo State to the pinnacle of sports in Nigeria.