The Board of Benue State Football Association (BSFA) led by Barr. Paul Edeh in continuation of its interface with stakeholders paid a courtesy visit to the leadership of Benue State House of Assembly (BOHA).
The visit at BOHA complex in Makurdi afforded both the state soccer governing body and Lawmakers to cross fertilise ideas on issues of importance regarding football development.
BSFA Chairman who set the ball rolling underscored the need for the State Lawmakers to lead the way in turning around the fortunes of their constituents by using football as a potent weapon of long lasting empowerment.
Barr. Edeh while recalling the activities of the state FA board amidst strategic visits since inception four months ago, outlined its driving force adding, “Our drive as a board is to build a football association that is investment driven, self-sustaining and anchors all it does on the basis of integrity and eliminating zero opportunities for corruption, hinged on developing the game of football at the grassroots in line with the objectives that have been set by FIFA, CAF, WAFU and NFF.
“We feel that there is no arm of government to anchor this drive than the State House of Assembly. If you look at the BSFA, you will see that the FA is operating full autonomy and devolution of powers at the local government levels and they have powers to make money, to make their decisions and run their activities.”
He said already the FA Board has triggered a football revolutionary move with the just concluded and ongoing local council Chairman’s Cup, then board members’ playoffs which involves teams at the communities and the various Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“All the playoffs are expected to produce 10 teams for the State FA Chairman’s Cup final competition in Makurdi. The process of producing those that will make it to final contest started weeks back and that has elicited so much interests with increasing anticipation. And that is what football does in terms of engaging young people and taking them off crime and any form of societal vices,” he said.
The BSFA boss then enjoined BOHA leadership to champion the quest to use football as a proven developmental tool by intentionally making laws and budgetary provisions.
He said, “We also appeal for development of needed football infrastructure. This the State House of Assembly can do by making relevant laws and financial provisions through budgeting so as to fix the dilapidated sporting facilities across the state.
“We request that BOHA institute Benue State Speaker’s Cup… You can’t encourage the young boys and girls without balls, so we want to request that in the next budget circle include money for balls and other football facilities, so that such will assist in developing football, and by that you are empowering the people. If you take a closer look over the year, you will discover that the cost of balls is what is bringing down football development in Benue State. However, as Lawmakers, you have all it takes to turn the tide.”
Responding, Speaker of BOHA, Rt. Hon. Aondona Dajoh, represented by the Majority Leader of the house, Hon. Saater Tiseer, accompanied by the House Chief Whip Hon. Peter Bemdoo Ipusu commended BSFA Chairman’s detrabilised commitment and passion in football forward and other sectors of the society.
He then assured of the House delibrate effort and resilience to support sports development in the state while recalling interventions which the house leadership has made so far in encouraging Lobi Stars and other sporting segments within short time of stay in office.
“We want Lobi stars to come back and play in Makurdi. Watching them play and other football teams in the state will reduce the number of High Blood Pressure prevalent in the state. Approving and organising the Speaker’s Cup is what we can do by getting the support of the house leadership and members to ensure that your request are met satisfactorily. Like you earlier noted, there is so much to do in several aspects of our dear state, but we are in a hurry to re-engineer and restore the confidence of our people,” he said.
Highlight of the visit was the presentation of branded balls and track suit to the BOHA leadership.