The just concluded continental sports fiesta tagged Asaba2018 was a huge success. Yes it was and its success has made Nigerians proud all over the world that Delta State and indeed Nigeria got this one right. That the hosting of the continental event was successful was a miraculous feat, as many people had given up on the ability of the high performing governor to pull the stunt of making the hosting a success. And the reasons for their being skeptical cannot be over emphasized.
This games venue, Stephen Keshi stadium was a project initiated some 48yrs ago and was abandoned to rot. Successive governments, both military and democratic, did not put the completion of the stadium into their list of priorities for reasons best known to them.
Then came the government of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, who was overwhelmingly elected governor in 2015 amidst one of the worst economic downturns ever witnessed in this country with its attendant paucity of funds! Many political pundits agreed that it would take a prudent, astute, and disciplined administrator to navigate through those tough financial times.
It was at this tough time that Okowa decided to take on the onerous task of resurrecting the very dead stadium project amid very meticulous personal supervision of every step of the way, and this resulted in a very radiant edifice that came in handy for the hosting of the continental sports fiesta.
The initial State penciled down to host the Asaba2018 event was Lagos. As the story went, Lagos pulled out of hosting at the eleventh hour putting serious pressure on the organizers, the International Athletic Federation. Then Okowa swung into action to save face for Nigeria and secured the hosting for Delta State. This action was adjudged by many as very patriotic and wise now, the rest is a pleasant history as Delta State was put in world focus for a very good and laudable reason.
We may not understand how Okowa did it. We may not have a clue on how the Asaba2018 project of this magnitude was pulled through and the marvelous organizational skills employed to give Deltans and indeed, the world a sporting week to remember but he got the job done. And that’s what great leaders do. They get the job done!