THAT WE MAY HOST A SUCCESSFUL FIFA U-20 WOMEN WORLD CUP
By Tony Saviour
Recently a high-power delegation from the Federation of International Football Associations, FIFA, was in Nigeria to assess facilities available to host the global football showpiece.
Luckily, Uyo was penciled down as possible host, thanks to the world class standard of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium and the Ikot Ekpene Stadium, which was presented as a possible training pitch.
While one may commend the initiator of both projects which have shot the state into international prominence, credit must also go to the present administration for upholding the maintenance culture which is lacking in other places.
While it is our prayer that the state gets the final nod to host the rest of the world, be it be know to all that “One good round of successful hosting, deserves another”.
That is, should our state play the good host, which of course it should, and must, chances are that the country can conveniently bid to host the African Nations Cup, with Uyo also as one of the venues. After all, if we could host the entire world, is it the African continent that we can not host?
Howbeit, to be able to do this effectively, a lot still needs to be done. The sanitary conditions of Uyo, the state capital and other adjoining areas like Uruan, where the Ibom Hotel is located, Itu which serves as transit route, and Ikot Ekpene, where the training facility is located must be stepped up. To do this, roads around the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, precisely in Obio Etoi, Obio Offot, and Mbierebe Obio must be constructed to not only aid in improving the aesthetics of the area, as seen at just concluded African Nations Cup in Egypt, but also help in easing the expected heavy human and vehicular traffic during the football fiesta.
The gains of hosting this event are enormous. Aside the monetary reward expected from the world football governing body to Nigeria, nay Akwa Ibom State, facilities put in place will still remain here for use by the citizens.
Having tasted how it is to host high calibre international matches like the African Nations Cup qualifiers in Uyo without hitches, one expects that this would not be an exception. All necessary mechanisms must be put in place, and fast tracked, without the regular official bureaucracy to ensure successful hosting.
Darkness, which has characterized most major roads in the capital city in recent times, must be bade a final farewell by ensuring the streetlights function optimally. Street furniture like the Globe at Wellington Bassey Way must be rehabilitated and made to function. The Water fountains at Edet Akpan Roundabout and Aka Junction must be restored, while road signs and markings must be put in place, too, bearing in mind that we are expecting visitors who may be visiting the state for the very first time.
Citizens, on their part must for once put on the cloak of decency both in character and in outlook so as not to give the state a bad name. Those who engage in fraudulent conducts must suspend their trade in the period while the event lasts, as a bad experience, is never very easy to erase from one’s memory, and can chase away the visitors.
It would not be out of place for the state government to assist owners of hotels to improve their facilities and services in line with international best practices, while also showcasing our delicacies and cuisines to the outside world.
Furthermore, the encomiums and appreciation at the end of the tournament will be sent to the government and the good people of the state as often is the case, and not just the government.
To this end, all hands must be on deck to ensure the state does not fail in this regard. The benefits are indeed enormous, let’s take advantage, and put things right so we don’t miss out.