Female football tournament a strategy to redirect minds of young girls away from negative ventures — Betsy Obaseki
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Female football tournament a strategy to redirect minds of young girls away from negative ventures — Betsy Obaseki



By Erharuyi A. Joe

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has consistently maintained that the priority for his administration is strengthening institutions and building human capacity in the State, while developing infrastructures to support.

It is clear that at the birth of the Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) agenda, Governor Obaseki realised that the State as part of the defunct Bendel State, was adjudged to be great in the comity of states in Nigeria and beyond, especially in the areas of arts like bronze casting and carving; sports like football; civilisation in terms of hygiene, environmental consciousness and layout amongst others. This showed in his choice of thematic pillars for his agenda for the state.

The peak of infrastructural and human capital development in past administrations of the State (being part of Bendel) was, no doubt, that of the Late Brigadier Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia (Rtd). Contemporary realities show that while the infrastructures lasted decades, the lapse on the part of developing human capacities as part of strengthening institutions, led to further degradation of the infrastructures and systems, culminating in a decayed society that seemed almost irredeemable.

At the dawn of democracy in 1999, Edo State which was barely eight years from its creation at the time, had built a poor reputation due to vices and immoral activities of its young people. The demeaning identity made the then administration of Governor Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion and other successive governments to fight for the redemption of the State’s image with little progress as the reputation of the state slid further downwards for decades.

 

This trend is now being rolled back by the Governor Obaseki administration through its concerted fight against the monster (prostitution and irregular migration) which is yielding significant results. At the second edition of the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT), Her Excellency, First Lady of Edo State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, said the State presently ranks sixth in the Country from the initial first position, of states with highest prevalence of prostitution and irregular migration. Highlighting the government’s efforts against social vices in the State, including the menace of drug abuse, the First Lady said the female football tournament was another strategy to promote positive values, redirect the minds of young girls from negative ventures and channel their energies into productive and dignifying activities.

The second edition of the BOWFT was deemed best women’s football pre-season competition, and Mrs. Obaseki was quick to acknowledge the support of the government and other stakeholders in successfully organising it. She said the theme “Say No to Drugs” was to consolidate on the achievements of the administration in combating social vices which have adversely affected women and girls especially, and negatively impacted the State’s image and overall development.

While the tournament was a highlight, Obaseki’s robust approach to human capital development saw the creation of over 200,000 jobs in his first term alone, a figure that has now been surpassed in his second coming. If you factor in the quality of education being delivered through the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (EdoBEST); the investments in youth and entrepreneurship especially in technology and creative arts as captured by the Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub; the Production Hub; the Tech Park; and other upskilling efforts across the State; one can see that Edo’s reputation has changed for good during these Obaseki years.

As we have learnt from past mistakes, it behoves all of us to see that the Edo 30-Year Masterplan which is an integral part of the M.E.G.A agenda, is not derailed. This is how the State can consolidate and reclaim the reputation it had as part of the old Bendel State, and chart the course towards sustainable progress.


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