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Temilola Olusegun Adibi, Chairman, Oyo State Sports Council in an encounter with Saturday Tribunesports NURUDEEN ALIMI, speaks on the ministerial order on government delegation to the Olympics, the upcoming National Sports Festival and his vision for sports development.
You were not quite known in sports, can you recall your antecedent?
I have HND in Mining and Engineering in 1983, I was a teacher for ten years before I retired in 1995, same year I went into politics. I was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999-2003 after which I became the chairman of Lagos Airport Hotel. While I was in the House of Representatives, I was the chairman, House Committee on Corporate Affairs Commission after leaving Airport Hotel, I was a member of National Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria where I was until I was given this appointment as the Chairman, Oyo State Sports Council.
While in secondary school I was involved in various sports both field and indoor sports. On the field I was into Javellin and Discus, I also did shot put and I was a very active Badminton player and football player as well until the time I had dislocation when I stopped playing.
Apart from government sources, where else do you intend to raise finds for urgent needs of the sport council officials, coaches and athletes?
Going by the edict that established this place, the council having gotten approval from the SSG or the commissioner can source for funds externally. This we have been doing, we have been looking for sponsorship externally, we have been consulting corporate organisations to come and sponsor some of our sporting programmes. We do not want a situation whereby we would be looking for money, we want them to really come and sponsor events, we believe in that more than sourcing for money you know what can happen when it comes to issues of money so we are looking for a way that we want to have Hall of Fame a corporate body would come to sponsor, so these are what we are planning to make sure we improve on what the government does for the sports council.
What programmes do you have for the training of officials, coaches and relevant professionals?
The government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi has been supporting refresher courses especially for coaches. As I speak, we have about three approved files of coaches who are going on refresher courses abroad, this the government believe so much is the best way that we can have positive results coming from the athletes themselves.
How do you think Oyo State should rate in Nigerian sports in view of manpower and resource available to it?
You see when we are talking about manpower, we are still looking for a way of making government improve on what we have on ground now. I would not say it is adequate, what we have now is what we met on ground and the government is trying to improve on this. But what we met on ground is grossly inadequate.
As far as the15th National Sports Festival coming up in Lagos this year is concerned, where do you wish to see Oyo State on the table after the games?
In last outing which is the National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt, Oyo State finished 7th on the medals table. From the report we got from our participation in various outings, we are assuring Oyo State people that we are going to be first at the end of the sports festival scheduled for Lagos later this year. We are working seriously towards this, the coaches are not relenting in their efforts, the commissioner is working, in fact everybody involved this in this quest is on his or her toes to make this a reality.
What do you see to the ministerial order banning government officials who have nothing to offer from going to the Olympics?
Well, this is my own personal view, if the minister of sports decides to ban some people that I think should affect mainly federal officials. Our state is not looking in that direction, people are going to the Olympics to represent the state government. Only the minister knows what he meant by making that statement. If there are irregularities in representation, I think he should look for a way of correcting them rather than placing this outright ban that nobody should go if he has no business in the Olympics. It is not the minister who should speak on this. Like I said, we will go to the Olympics and impact what we learn on the developmental programme on sports.
The Lekan Salami stadium is still under completion since it was commissioned in 1985, what plans do you have to complete many of the abadoned projects in the stadium complex?
In fact, I just held a meeting with the commissioner today. This is one of the issues that the commissioner summoned the meeting for, as you could see the stadium is nearing completion, we spoke about completing the hostel facility which is under construction and which would also be a source of revenue for the state government when completed. We talked about the abandoned swimming pool, you would recollect that these are projects awarded by the past government and abandoned by their contractors.
We want to make sure that we bring then back on site. The issue of the hostel is not abandoned, the contractor did not abandon it, there are some things we want to fine-tune, the moment we are through with that, work will commence on the hostel in earnest. The handball court, we have a budgetary vote for that which we would take to somewhere so we are planning to start on that handball court soonest.
The squash hall is nearing completion, very soon people would start making use of the facility.
About the gym, you know I told you we have a very robust budgetary allocation, the commissioner really tried while defending the budget. We are going to give the gym a facelift, these are things we are trying to do.
We also talked about re-painting the stadium both internally and externally, this we hope would start very soon, these are the things we want to do to make sure we give the stadium a facelift and we are not even limiting our activities on the Lekan Salami Stadium alone, we are going to work on other stadia in the state, the likes of Oghomoso Township Stadium, Durbar Stadium, Oyo; the Eleruwa Stadium, Eruwa and the one at Saki and you know it is a barren land, we are hoping to start something there very soon.
What is the council doing to improve on the development of grassroots sports in the state?
You see, when we came on board we spoke at length about this that we believe in looking inwards to capture talents rather than going outside to bring athletes from other states to come and be hoisting the state’s flag at various competitions.
We have identified areas where we can look for athletes, we know where to go when we are looking for swimmers, when you talk of sprinters, we know where to go to and we are encouraging all our zonal offices to start organising competitions to really discover these talents and bring them to limelight.
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