By Innocent Onoja
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, has congratulated the Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, over the prestigious “Football Friendly Governor of the Year 2018 Award” presented to him by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick at Government House Asaba, on Wednesday June 12, 2019.
Oghenesivbe in a statement said the NFF Award is timely, well deserved and obviously testified to the numerous strategic and result oriented efforts made by Gov Okowa, during his first tenure to showcase Delta State to the world in sports and youths development.
He noted that prior to the governor’s assumption of office on May 29, 2015; the state suffered embarrassing huge infrastructure deficit in sports development but that the proactive steps taken by Gov Okowa backed by uncommon political willpower and adequate funding changed the narrative within the scope of four years and still counting.
Oghenesivbe, a pioneer Executive Assistant to Gov Okowa on Communications during his first tenure disclosed that the construction and commissioning of Stephen Keshi International Stadium was one of the star projects which got the governor’s political detractors heartbroken because of their initial claim that it would end up as an elephant project and a financial drainage pipe without a corresponding result.
He said, our governor got it right, completed Stephen Keshi stadium within a projected time frame as stated in the contractual legal terms; and immediately hosted the 21st African Senior Athletic Competition which brought the entire African continent to Asaba. in addition to that, Delta came tops in several sports competition and hosted four FIFA soccer engagements, all in a roll of short intervals.
President of NFF and 1st President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Amaju Melvin Pinning while presenting the award noted that Gov Okowa and his administration hosted several activities of the NFF which included four matches as follows; Super Eagles vs Uganda in November 2018, vs Seychelles in March 2019, vs Egypt in March 2019, vs Zimbabwe in June 2019, one match of the U23 National Team, vs Libya in March 2019, Delta hosted the Annual General Assembly of the NFF in October 2018 and a pre-Extraordinary General Assembly of NFF in August 2018.
“The amiable governor has also handsomely rewarded players and officials of the Super Eagles on more than one occasion. His administration also sponsored several Clubs in the various Leagues in the country, a channel for Youths development.
“In the light of the above, NFF decided to appreciate the governor with this unique Pitch Award Gong of Football Friendly Governor of the Year 2018,” Pinnick said.
Oghenesivbe commended the visionary and progressive leadership qualities of the governor and respectfully urged him to keep the flag of Delta State flying at high altitude, adding that his name may soon enter the Guinness Book of Records, as the most innovative, goal oriented and sports loving governor in Nigeria.