Sixteen years after he laid the foundation stone for the construction of Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State, former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday commissioned the project, with a call on the state government to provide hostel facilities for developing sports men and women.
“Sixteen years ago, I came here to lay the foundation of this stadium and today I am here to inaugurate it, I hope to come back to see the hostel you have built to train the youths,” Obasanjo said after securing the assurance from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa that hostel will be built.
Obasanjo noted that the stadium may not mean much to ordinary but the gains of the projects could not be over emphasized.
He said that no one could have a sound mind and sound body without exercising, adding that the stadium was a veritable source on money for the state and the people of Asaba and environs.
“The thinking of the people is what are you doing with the stadium and to the ordinary man, the importance is not appreciated.
“The importance of the a sound mind in a sound body, I have always played squash and I have a squash court in my house to keep fit and it is very important that you exercise.
“In today’s world there is from which you cannot make money, sports tourism will make the economy of the state strong and the people of Asaba will grow their economy.
“We must not just have the stadium, we must utilise the facility to bring up the young ones by catching them young.
“You must recruit those that would be trained and build a hostel where they stay to be trained and if you do this the state will develop.
Earlier, the state governor, Okowa said that the stadium was at 20 per cent completion stage when he came in and took up the project.
He said that the stadium has hosted international competitions including the 21st edition of Senior African Athletic Championship where 52 countries participated, adding that it has also hosted the Aiteo Cup Finals between Enugu Rangers and Kano Pillars.
He said during the championships, the economy of the state blossomed as hotels in the state capital were fully booked and other economic activities thrived.