Deputy Governor Shaibu, A Team Player Behind Success Story Of Edo 2020 Games – Tandoh
Dr. Kweku Tandoh is a household name in Nigerian sports. He is a technocrat who was the secretary general of Eko 2012 National Sports Festival, which has been adjudged as best ever organised sports festival since inception. He is the Consultant to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the just concluded Edo 2020 National Sports Festival in Benin. A festival, which despite some hitches occasioned by several postponements, was successfully organised with glamour. Dr. Tandoh, in this interview with P.M. EXPRESS, revealed the magic behind the success story of the Edo 2020 Games, the roles played by the Deputy Governor of Edo State Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, who is the chairman of the LOC and other distinguished members of the LOC. He also revealed many other issues about the competition.
Your assessment of the organisation of 20th National Sports Festival by Edo State
As the consultant to the LOC for this Games, overall I will say Edo State has done very well. If you look at it sector by sector-transportation, hospitality, welfare, security, medical, the organisation of the competition as a whole and other areas, you can begin to rate this individually and more importantly, when you look at it collectively, you will agree with me that the state has done creditably well giving the circumstance which the Games found itself prior to the first postponement till the time we could conveniently say the festival would hold.
Of course, we have a few challenges in some few areas like feeding and security, which could be better handled, but in overall, Edo State has done a good job organising the 20th National Sports Festival.
Your reaction to the delay in the release of funds from the Federal Government to the LOC
This is a political issue and you know I am a technocrat. I will prefer to deal with technical aspect of the Games. Notwithstanding, with the resources available to the state and still be able to put together what we saw in the course of the festival, you can agree with me that the government has done more better as we had a very good show.
Your advise to Edo State Government on how best to maintain the world class facilities built for the Games
There is no doubt about it that those facilities are first class and maintaining these facilities after the competition is very important. You can see that in almost all the sports competed for in the festival, the state government has done a lot to provide world class facilities and infrastructures. Going forward after the festival, however, maintenance of these facilities is key. I think two things are needed, one is to ensure good maintenance is apply and number two, the government should ensure that competent and experienced people are in charge of this maintenance, I am happy that the state government has started thinking in that direction. The maintenance of these facilities will be under the purview of the new agency created by the state government known as Infrastructure Management Agency. This shows that they understand that professionals must be in charge of the maintenance.
The second aspect of maintenance is that they should ensure regular hosting of competitions to keep these facilities running. If you put up world class facilities and you lock them up, after a while, they will begin to deteriorate in terms of losing values. So the state has to ensure that events are held regular. Thank goodness, Edo State has a good sports person who has been saddled with the overall supervision of sports in person of the Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, who I understand has a lot of things in mind in keeping these facilities running after the festival by organising national championships, bringing to Edo inter state tournaments, even he has plans to bid for international sports events. He wants to do these because Edo State can boast of world class facilities.
One thing that is of note is that many of these facilities are in schools which are catchment areas for sports development and these schools will no doubt put these facilities under their care to use regularly.
You were the secretary general of the LOC of Eko 2012 National Sports Festival and now the Consultant to Edo 2020 National Sports Festival. The two national competitions were seen as reference points, tell us the magic and the adding values you put into the Edo Games
Eko 2012 was an excellent event, possibly still the best organised National Sports Festival in my opinion in terms of organisation. I think we learnt a lot from the fantastic team put together by the then Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola. So coming to Edo 2020 as a Consultant, I was able to bring along the experience from Eko 2012 and more importantly, the Deputy Governor of Edo State must be commended a lot for the free hands he gave to us to do the work. Again, a good team was put together in Edo State for the festival. We have very competent persons in the LOC, the Secretary of the LOC, Dr. Emmanuel Igbinosa, who just recently retired from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports. He had attended many festivals in the past as an athlete and later as an administrator and we have many other people who know how festival is being organised.
I must also commend the local team on ground. These are people who are receptive and ready to learn from ideas I put forward because our eyes were fixed on the ultimate goal of organising a good festival and make Edo State proud. This was the spirit that made us to excel. I am proud of everybody. I am also proud of His Excellency, the Deputy Governor who was even ready to learn from us. He allowed us to use the experience of Eko 2012 for the organisation of Edo 2020.
There is no doubt that the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival has been a wonderful experience for me.