The Cross-Rivers state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has revealed the state's preparedness to host the annual Mobil Track and Field Championship for the next five years.
Speaking at a State dinner at Government Lodge, Calabar in honour of the organizers of the just concluded NNPC/Mobil Track and Field Championship in Calabar, Imoke disclosed that the State, with the support of the National Sports Commission and the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), is ready to meet the commitment and will start work to meet the demands of the next edition, advising that the nation should take the development of sports out of the realm of politics.
He also revealed that the State intends to develop Obudu Mountain to be a high attitude training centre to compliment facilities at the Obudu Mountain Resort and that it is prepared to work with the Federal Government and corporate bodies to make it work.
The Governor has thus called for a strong collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop sports in Nigeria for it to attain its place as giant of Africa.
Imoke reasoned that it is difficult for the public sector to develop sports as such the private sector should partner it to succeed, adding that the State has initiated a programme to identify and develop the young ones which it believes in four years time will produce Olympic champions.
Imoke noted that the nation has not done enough to develop athletics despite its enormous endowment and called for a pragmatic approach which will place the country on the same pedestal with its East African counterparts.
On infrastructure, he said that the nation is efficient in hosting international events and after which they allow the infrastructure to decay and that there is need to spend more to overcome the challenge.