Executive Board of Benue State Football Association (BSFA), led by Barr. Paul Edeh recorded a milestone as it hosted a first ever football stakeholders summit at the weekend in Makurdi, the state capital.
The stakeholders summit which was held 49 days after the current BSFA board was inaugurated, witnessed the gathering of who-is-who in the state’s football family.
Those who attended the summit included ex-internationals, club representatives, football administrators, coaches, referees, sports journalists among others drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
Stakeholders, while speaking took turns to bare their minds on critical issues of importance, amidst the outpour of encomiums on the steps taken so far to show direction by the Benue FA board in less than two months.
Before then, BSFA Chairman, Barr. Paul Edeh, while recalling the various positive moves by his board, emphasised the need for peace and unity of purpose among the stakeholders.
“When we came on board, precisely 49 days ago, we took initiative on how to move football forward in order to rekindle the good old days when the various ex-internationals, some of whom are gathered here made us proud.
“I personally believe that there’s no way we will make headway in developing football in the state without listening to those who have made a career from it, or are doing one thing or the other around football.
“Again, you can’t grow the game when you have a divided house because a house divided against itself can’t stand. We as stakeholders need to put heads together to find ways of developing football in Benue. We don’t need to apply a political approach in developing football. We only need to speak and act as one.
“When an Asisat Oshoala, Francisca Ordega or Onome Ebi is playing, no one identifies them based on where they come from, so all we need to do always is to identify the things that unite us rather than distract or disunite us,” said Edeh.
He emphatically enjoined Benue stakeholders to desist from “any form of pull him down syndrome, instead join hands to encourage and promote each other.”
Declaring the summit open, the state Director of Sports Comrade Philip Ter Nongu announced that His Excellency Governor Hyacinth Alia has approved immediate resuscitation of the annual Governor’s Cup.
He also revealed that the state number one citizen has also directed that work should resume immediately on the pitch of Aper Aku stadium in Makurdi, to enable respective teams in the state, particularly Lobi Stars return home and prosecute their matches conveniently.
On the Stakeholders’ Summit, the Sports Director said, “In my 16 years as General-Secretary, I didn’t witness where such a summit was organised. So this is very apt and laudable.”
Vice Chairman of Lobi Stars and ex-international Dominic Iorfa as well as other former footballers – Emmanuel Abah and Abdul Sule, were among others who attended the event.
Iorfa particularly said, “Since my involvement in football in the early 80s, I have never seen football organised in this manner where all stakeholders are gathered to discuss issues.”
National President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr. Isaiah Benjamin, while acknowledging the efforts and exploits of the incumbent FA board, solicited for support to trigger more successes in the state.
He assured that the sporting media will continuously support in adequate publicity of its programmes and activities.
Chairmen of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association and Nigeria Referees Council in Benue state, Mr. Eugene Agabe and Mr. Gbilekaa Anthony, as well as other stakeholders hailed the developmental strides and timely actions of BSFA.