We are starting preparations in the next few weeks for the next edition of National Sports Festival coming up next year. We want to prepare ahead of time and also have better performance than we did this year in the last edition that took place in Kaduna. All efforts are now geared towards monitoring our athletes before they will be finally called to close camping at a yet to be decided venue.
Is that to say you are aiming at improving on the position of the state on the medals table in the coming sports fiesta?
That is exactly what we are planning, you could remember that our target was to be among the top ten but we ended in the 14th position, and our target is to achieve that at the Port Harcourt National Sports Festival.
Benue State darling club, Lobi Stars survived relegation in the Globacom Premier League this season by whiskers. How did it happen?
What we did was to pray fervently for God’s assistance for the team to escape relegation not that we set up a committee for relegation escape. There is nothing impossible for God to do and that was what happened, nothing else. We are surprised that the team struggled to escape relegation when we thought Lobi Stars should be among the contenders for the league crown.
What was the major problem of the team?
Well, this team is not under my direct control now so I won’t be in a good position to offer reasons for what is happening in the club or to proffer solutions as to what will happen to the club next season. But I am only hoping that if I have the opportunity of making suggestions, I will make them.
As a commissioner of sports in the state, you said the team is not under your direct control, can you elaborate on that?
Well, there is nothing to elaborate because these are policy matters and I should not be discussing them on the pages of newspapers.
Are you impressed with the performance of BCC Lions of Gboko in the just concluded league season?
BCC have just come back having been out for a very long time so they actually need time to settle down. Based on that I won’t say they have done badly.
What prompted Governor Suswam of Benue State in the first place to vie for the leadership of Athletics Federation, and now that he stepped down for the new President Solomon Ogba is he going to continue to support the federation morally and financially?
My Governor was into that contest because he has passion for sports generally and athletics in particular. He was looking for a forum whereby he will be able to promote athletics. Even when he had to step down for Chief Solomon Ogba, he told them that his interest was not necessarily in the position but just in the promotion of athletics. He said that he will still continue to uphold athletics development and that was what he started doing by the donations he made. You are also aware that he hosted them (AFN Federation Board members) in his house after the election that is to tell you that there was no love lost between the two of them (Ogba and Governor Suswam). It is also to show that that the interest that is Principal is that of Athletics Federation and not whether it is in the office of the President of the Federation or not.
So, will I be right to say that the good days are back as regards the fortunes of athletics in the country?
Yes as long as Governor Suswam continues to enjoy the support and cooperation from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), he will surely give his best to ensure the federation achieves its set goals and objectives during their tenure.