Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated the state’s preparedness to host the FIFA Under-20 Women’s soccer competition as well as the National Sports Festival next year.
He gave the assurance during a meeting with a delegation of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and FIFA inspection team at Government House in Benin City, Wednesday.
Obaseki said the revamp of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, which is near completion, would host various local and international sporting events.
“We take sports seriously in the state because 72 percent of our population are under 30 years of age. We are building 20 mini-stadia across the state and four of the stadia can be used as practice fields,” he said.
The governor said the fibre optic cables being laid across Benin City metropolis would provide the infrastructure to broadcast matches, adding that the Benin Specialist Hospital would provide the needed medical services.
Earlier, the NFF President Amaju Pinnick said the inspection team had also visited the Lagos State government, and was in Edo State to assess its sporting facilities ahead of the 2020 Women’s Under-20 World Cup competition.
The NFF boss commended the governor for reviving sports in the state, especially the repositioning of Bendel Insurance Football Club.
“You have done a lot for football development in the country and the Nigerian football community wants me to thank you for the role you played in ensuring our girls qualified for the last under-20 World Cup.”
He added that Edo would also be hosting a match between the Super Eagles and Benin Republic on November 11 as well as the NFF Annual General Conference.
Meanwhile, the governor has pledged support for reforms that would help reposition the creative industry and put it on positive growth trajectory.
He made the pledge in Benin City while playing host to members of Edo State chapter of Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), in Government House, Benin City.
“As a government, we believe in what you do, and ready to collaborate with you because you are into the business of creativity which has huge potential.
“The business has to be regulated to contribute more to the development of the state. You will have to make the move to clean up the system and as a government, we will surely support you,” he assured.
He stressed the need to clean up the creative industry to ensure genuine artistes are left to do their business, adding that enforcement of regulations will be successful if there is a database of members and a proper booking system.
“We are working to return night life to the state through a project called Electrify Edo and we will light up 50 kilometers of streets to boost socio-economic activities at night.”
He explained that his administration was working on a plan to establish a creative hub where artistes can do their creative business and contribute their quota to the development of the state.
The creative hub, according to the governor, will operate as the production and innovation hubs set up by his administration.
In his response, Willy Oduwa Eghe-Nova, who led members of the association on the visit, commended Governor Obaseki for his developmental strides.
He noted that the governor’s performance had shown that his mission was to make Edo a great state inhabited by happy people.
Eghe-Nova added that PMAN had initiated and submitted a proposal on performers’ permit, which he said would serve as a revenue source for the association and the state government.