The 12th edition of the Nigeria Police Games kicked off on Saturday, February 29, in Awka, Anambra State, with all Police Commands across the country taking part, Completesports.com reports.
The weeklong sports fiesta was declared open by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday February 29.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Frank Mbah, who is also spokesman of the Force Headquarters and member of the Main Organising Committee, MOC, of the Games is confident the objectives of the Nigeria Police Games will continue to materialize as the 12 edition of the Games kicked off.
A total of 3000 athletes are to competing for honours in different sporting events that will take place across the state and beyond.
Mbah saus that Nigeria Police has played a leading role in Nigeria’s medal haul in international competitions, stressing that ‘no organization has won more gold medals for Nigeria in international sporting competitions than the Nigeria Police’.
“From 1946 when the first Nigeria Police Games was held in Obalende, Lagos, the Nigeria Police Force has been in the forefront of identifying and developing athletes and champions for Nigeria,” Mbah said.
“It’s not just Chioma Ajunwa alone, the late Sunday Bada was a police officer, Kikelomo Ajayi who captained Super Falcons for years is also a police officer.
“Margareth Ekpe who is still serving as an Assistant Commissioner of Police was for five years National Discus champion. She was a bronze medalist during the 1991 All Africa Games held in Cairo, Egypt.
“Sunday Egharevba, an accomplished footballer, was a member of the then Green Eagles and as a matter of fact, holds the record of scoring the first goal at the National Stadium, Lagos when it was commissioned in 1973.
“As I speak to you today, we still have so many other police officers doing Nigeria proud in the field of sports.
“ASP Olarewaju Duroduola is currently the African Boxing Union champion. He won the belt on February 4, 2020 and was a former World Boxing Council, WBC, Cruiserweight champion. There are many others too”.
The Police Image maker equally discloses that the long-standing objective of the Police is to ensure that the Force remains a strong one in producing sporting champions for Nigeria.
“Our long term goal is to take our pride of place and continue with that ‘noble’ culture of producing for Nigeria, not just national and continental champions, but as well global champions that will continue to put the name of Nigeria positively on World sporting map,” Mbah said.
“Our commitment in this regard is firm and irrevocable. And we will work with people, we will work with the media and all good people like the good people of Anambra state in advancing this objective”.
The Nigeria Police Games – Anambra 2020 MOC member, further reveals that achieving this objective was reason the Sports Minister decided to send team led by former sprinter, Mary Onyali Omagbemi, to come and identify talents during the weeklong Nigeria Police Games.
“That was the reason the Sports Minister [Sunday Dare], is sending a team led by Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, to come and identify these talents and work with the Police to transform these talents into international champions.
“There is no single organization in Nigeria, and you can quote me on this, that has produced for Nigeria the number of champions that we [Police] have produced, none, none at all.
“As a matter of fact, if you look at all the gold medals Nigeria has won in Olympics, there is none that does not have imprints of the Police.
“The only Nigerian living or dead, that has won Olympic medal in individual event is Chioma Ajunwa. In the (100X400m) relay (men) that Nigeria eventually won the gold, the man that anchored the team was Sunday Bada, a police officer.
“The other gold that Nigeria have won in the Olympics was in the football event at Atlanta 1996. And again, we had police officers working behind the scene for the team.
“The man who was the security manager of the team was a police officer. A police officer was a member of the then defunct Nigeria Football Association, NFA, that managed that team.
“So, we are always there for you. Go and check, no organization, no individual, in this country, has been able to do what we have done for Nigeria in sports.
“And we are committed to continuing in that beautiful tradition and even improving on that’.
Mbah would go on to explain reasons the organizers opted for multi venues for the Nigeria Police Games – Anambra 2020.
“We realized the huge advantages derivable from spreading the venues for the different sports during the Police Games”, the MOC member explained.
“Decentralization helps to drive sports infrastructural development in Anambra State. For us, this is not just about the Police Force, these Games will help in improving our physical fitness. Police work is a demanding work, physically and mentally.
“This Games is also part of our culture to fish out and nurture talents that will help in the overall sports development of the country.
“It is a tool of unity and a platform to drive the unity of the country. Look at the theme of this Games: Promoting Community Policing Through Sports.
“So we will also use the opportunity of this Games to build new relationship with the community members, develop confidence, build trust and that is the only way for us to be able to function effectively, for us to drive our community policing agenda.
“It’s not just about us. It is about our people, it is about our country and it is about the host State. For Anambra State in particular, there is a whole lot of advantages for the state, for hosting this event.
“For those of you who are in the State, you could notice that sports infrastructures in the state are being upgraded. Rojenny Sports Complex which looked like abandoned is wearing a new look. All the sporting infrastructures there; Lawn Tennis Court, Basketball Court and the tartan tracks have all been upgraded and at the end of the day, we are not taking these infrastructures away.
“They would be left there for the good people of Anambra State to use and enjoy. The Alex Ekwueme Square, for example, is being provided with an ultra modern Olympic size Swimming pool plus other sports infrastructures.
“Ekwueme Square, hitherto, was simply a ground for hosting events but you can see it has becoming not just a venue for hosting events but also a sporting arena. If you look at the central position of the Ekwueme Square, it will be accessible to students in the state capital, Awka and other tertiary institutions within the State, as well as the good people of the State.
“And so we will be leaving a legacy of improved sporting infrastructure for the people of Anambra State. Secondly, Anambra people will also benefit immensely from the economic advantages the Police Games will be leaving behind.
“There will be a lot of business transactions that will go on. Owners of hotels in Anambra , I’m sure they are in smiling mood now because almost all the hotels in Awka and its environs have almost been fully booked.
“The Police Games will also provide opportunity for the people of Anambra State to showcase their culture, like during the opening and closing ceremonies and it provides opportunity for us as a people to make a statement on how profitable, beautiful and safe our people can be.
“Finally, the Nigeria Police Games, Anambra 2020, is an opportunity for the youths of Anambra State to see and feel their idols. People like Chioma Ajunwa will be on ground. People will be able to relate with her and get some mentoring from her.
“Mary Onyali Omagbemi who is heading the talents unit of the Ministry of Sports and who is also a Special Assistant to the Minister of Sports, Hon Sunday Dare, will also be on ground with her team, to scout for new talents.
“Incidentally, Mary Onyali Omagbemi is from Anambra State , so she will be coming back home.”
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