Meet the Commissioner of Youths and Special Duties, Edo State, Barr. Damian Lawani as he discuss with us on BeInspired Show the forthcoming 20th National Sport Festival hosted by Edo State, scheduled to begin 22nd of March to the 1st of April 2020.
What should we expect?
Expect the best! This is the second edition to be hosted by Edo state, after 17 years. I consider it a rare privilege that in my time, the youth of Edo state are given serious attention in sport.
The hall of it all is that the main person championing the sport in the state is the person of the Deputy Governor. Rt Hon. Philip Shaibu. And by the Grace of God, he is the chairman of the National Sport Local Organizing Committee LOC.
It is a rare privilege to have a man of his caliber chairing the committee to give us the best result that we have now.
From what we have seen so far, there is no gainsaying that the stadium and the spot facilities we have presently in Edo state are the best in Africa.
In fact, what we have can compete in any part of the world favourably. Sometimes, when you say some of these things, people think it’s politics. No. What you do whenever an argument is put forward, you go there and find out things for yourself.
In Africa, we have the best facilities as far as spot is concern. I am not saying state. In the whole of Africa, Edo has the best of the model equipment and facilities as far as sport is concerned.
And that is why all kinds of games, bodies and associations that are sport oriented have taken Edo as their base.
Is it athletics, is it gymnastics, kara tics, is it football, volleyball, long tennis, table tennis, mention them, they are all here in Edo and they have the best of facilities.
You know, most times, people believe when politicians are involved in things like this, they only do them for politics. No.
What we have done is a legacy. It will outlive those in the office. And it will be a template that others will follow, even in other states. Like I said, what we have presently are the best facilities as far as Africa is concerned.
For us as a people, how do you think we can benefit from all these?
From what it is, for the state to be hosting the entire country, the 36 states including Abuja, it is going to be rewarding. The economic viable sector of the state will not only be jumped, people will have opportunities therein, opportunities in entrepreneurship, those who are involved in small-scale businesses, their businesses will go up, they will have opportunities to market their product and test run any new product, and they will stand out because these are product made not just in Nigeria but in Edo state.
And it is also an opportunity for investors from other states to join them to ensure that we promote the Made in Nigeria. That not withstanding, even foreign countries are welcomed to see opportunities available in Edo State in the area of the economy generally as to manufacturing companies, production companies coming to take opportunities of those facilities available. Especially when you have an investment banker as your governor, you cannot expect less.
That is why the economy of the state is progressive and moving in a geometric ratio that even the blind can see it, even the deaf can hear. It is an opportunity for us to explore all the opportunities we have in the state up to small scale business owners. Who will all benefit because the economy of the state can never remain the same after this game. A lot has been put in and a lot will be gained as benefits to the state.
What do you think the people can also do to support the event as citizens of the state?
First, every citizen is to be law-abiding. To support government, support their policies as it affects their lives.
What we are doing right now is for us! For the people! Because the name Edo state will be on the map everywhere, during that period and after. That is why we are more contain that before, during and after the programme, there is going to be a difference! The people are ready to support our leader and governor, Godwin Obaseki in his quest to reposition the state for a better economy, leaving the state better than he met it.
How would you advice young persons to maximize such opportunities and what one or two things do you think they should know and how to go about it?
The programme itself is all for the young person (young people). And this ministry – The Ministry of Sport and Special Duties is created for young people. You wouldn’t expect old men to be engaged in sport activities. On behalf of the youth of Edo State, we must commend the Governor for this initiative because this is one of the recognition that the youth need. Most of the problems and challenges about social vices are about youth. But when they are visibly engaged and busy, night and day, there will not be an opportunity for them to engage in social vices.
Now that they will be engaged in one sporty activity or the other, you will discover that crime will be reduced to the barest minimum. Because it is an idle mind that is always giving thoughts to evil thinking. But when our youths are good in basketball, they are good in football, and all the sporty activity, you will see Edo name getting to that desired enviable heights we all expect.
Not withstanding the challenges, some of our youth need to wake up to the responsibility and understand that these are opportunities created for us and grab it!
And when you have a government ready to support in every area, you will be fulfilled in the chosen sporty activity you are involved in.
Now the facilities are there, they must not be under utilized. They should be utilized maximumly. And they are built for the youth.
We are commending the Governor for this initiative, a welcome development for the young people of Edo state. And we assure him that we will use them to the benefit of our youth and the benefit of Edo people.
Any other thing you would like to say?
The programme is near, government is doing everything in terms of health, providing all necessary facilities to ensure everybody is safe, in terms of security which is the primary assignment of the government, protection of lives and property.
We must strongly support the government in ensuring that those coming know that the government and the people are working accordingly and together. The president is coming for the opening, and I’m sure he is also coming for the closing. We believe that when they come, we will give them the maximum support and cooperation to welcome Mr President.
For Edo people, we say thank you for the support you have been giving to the Governor and we enjoin you to continue to support him to ensure that his eight years is complete. That when he is done after eight years, Edo will never remain the same.
Lawani Damain is a Lawyer, Public Servant, and the current Honourable Commissioner of Youths and Special Duties to the present Edo State Government.
It was great having the Commissioner on the Show. Get ready for Edo2020!