Commission boss outlines economic benefits of Delta 2022

The Delta State Sports Commission chairman, Tonobok Okowa, says the ongoing 21st National Sports Festival in Asaba will make Delta State richer adding that the event “is bringing in a lot of money to the state and its citizens.”

While speaking to reporters after the opening ceremony, Okowa said residents of the state had already benefitted from several of the projects undertaken by the state government ahead of the biennial competition.

“Well, of course, all the hotels are fully booked; the supermarkets have been selling so you can imagine that enough money will be made.

“The artisans here did the reconstruction of the facilities, so people have made money, within the markets and shops around the stadiums, people are making money and that has improved us economically,” he said.

Okowa also addressed the concerns about the short time the state government had to prepare for the festival, adding that a building accident inside the stadium was unnecessarily blown out of proportion.

“We know what we were doing, and I didn’t want to respond to some of the comments that might have been politically motivated.

“Yeah, something happened while the crane that was trying to fix a roof, and the train knocked part of the wall down and there was noise everywhere that the games village collapsed and a lot of people died. They were just lies. In two days, they put the blocks back in order and quickly we did the roofing and that is what you see now. There is no way that building can collapse because it is all steel, nothing can go wrong with it,” he said.

On Wednesday’s colourful opening ceremony at the packed Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Okowa added, “We’ve been working round the clock, working hard, so we are not expecting anything less than the best. Not too long ago in 2018, we hosted the African Athletics Championships, it was about the same so we know what to do.”

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