PRINCE NED NWOKO, HIS GIANT STEPS FOR NIGERIA SPORTS, HIS DREAMS FOR HIS PEOPLE
By Iroroh Frank
My professional callings, been a sports administrator who understands the values of sports to society and been around the extraordinary legend of our time, Hon Prince Ned Nwoko, a great sports lover, exposed me to his inner mind, his vision for Nigerian sports and his dreams for his community, Idumuje Ugboko, Delta State.
Hon Prince Ned Nwoko’s travels and education gave him the insight of the values of sports as the main engine house of the global tourism industry and tourism by itself as the driver of major economies of the world outside oil.
Having realised this fact, Hon Prince Ned Nwoko set on to introduce changes that would improve Nigeria standing in Sports. As a law maker in 1st Assembly of the present democratic dispensation (1999 – 2003), he sponsored a bill for the establishment of Sports University in Nigeria.
The reason for establishing such a university was to have a degree awarding institution in the country to train the higher manpower needed to mann critical areas of the sports sector.
To achieve the above objectives and being a well focus man, who always pursue his dreams to the later, he decided to use his riches to build a version of the sports university he has in mind, in his state, his community, Idumuje Ugboko, the proposed Stars University.
It is his burning desire to fix the wobbling and fumbling jinx of Nigeria sports, through the production of professionals in all the spheres of the sports industry through:
Training of athletes (physical and psychological),
Provide budding sports talents opportunity to pursue their dreams, while also acquiring higher skills for a life after their active sports years as will be provided by the university ( the university will offer double major, Sports any other courses of choice). And
Train high level sports administrators, sports organisers, sports psychologists, Sports marketers and sports journalists among so many other related sports professionals who are very much in short supply in Nigeria and the entire African continent and who are very critical for the growth of sports globally.
All this will lead to improvement in Nigeria’s performance in international sports meet, promote effective coordination and development of the sport sector and placed the sector in higher stead of mass participation in the country, where the citizens can harvest the maximum benefits accruing from effective sports programs in the country.
Hon Prince Ned Nwoko, would have sited the university in any part of Africa, Ghana, South Africa and elsewhere in Nigeria, but his patriotic zeal could not allow him to deny his state, his Anioma region and his community the opportunity of hosting such a rare and premiere university.
His patriotism is reinforced by his dreams for his place of birth. Hon Prince Ned Nwoko wants his community to be the epicentre of the sports revolution unfolding in Africa. To bring his rural community to limelight and make it a centre of international focus.
He want all Africans of sport bias to come to Idumuje Ugboko to acquire their professional degree certificate in sports disciplines of their choice.
He want to ensure that major sports events like the National Youth Games and some events of the National Sports Festival is hosted in Idumuje Ugboko, if Delta State is granted a hosting right. He wants International Golf Championships, National and International Sports seminars and symposiums hold in his community.
All these means more people coming to the community, the state. They translate to creation of new business and job opportunities in the area.
The Stars University, when fully operational will no doubt help in consolidating Delta State premiership position in sports in Nigeria by helping to train her manpower in the sector.
Neighbouring towns like Agbor, Umunede, Onicha Ugbo, Issele Uku, Ogwashi Uku, Ibuzor and of course Asaba will benefit from the University anytime major national and international events is held there because some of the participants and visitors coming to watch the events, would like to lodge in hotels in any of these towns and enjoy their local cuisine.
As the saying goes, nothing good comes easy, so in spite the diatribes of Azuka Jebose and his sponsors, overwhelming majority of Anioma people both big and small are praying fervently to God to see Hon Prince Ned Nwoko through this audacious project. Let no dark forces hinder his lofty dreams for sports in Nigeria and development in our state.
We need development in our communities to create jobs for our youths, not fallow bushes and jungles that act as hideouts for criminals who often uses them as bases to unleash mayhem in our communities.