Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka remember him? He is a member of Board of Trustees (BOT), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Proprietor of Rojenny Tourist Village Oba, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. In this exclusive interview with ANDREW EKEJIUBA, the Ogirisi Igbo (Cleanser of Igbo race) as he is fondly called, opened up on the new-look Rojenny Stadium, his vision for sports development in Nigeria and the need for public spirited individuals and Corporate Nigeria to bankroll sporting activities following the laying of tartan tracks at the venue for athletic events. He also affirmed that future Olympians would be discovered at Rojenny within four years of utilization of the worldclass facilities by our upcoming athletes. Excerpts:
The Rojenny Stadium is having a new facelift with the laying of tartan tracks; how soon is the stadium going to be ready for use for athletic events
As you can see, the laying of the tartan tracks at Rojenny Stadium is now a reality. The materials for the laying of the tartan tracks are here, but what is remaining is the completion of this project, so that our athletes can have a place they can race on.
From what is on ground, we can comfortably say that in no distant time we have a place Nigerian athletes can call their home, because the venue is of international standard.
Initially it was like a dream, I mean nursing the idea of having this project completed; therefore, from the depth of your heart, how do you feel about this latest development of having a standard venue almost ready for athletics through your partnership with the Anambra State Government in this regard?
My feeling is like that of a dreamer, a dreamer dreams of not himself alone, but dreams on a selfless platform. A dreamer dreams not for what will benefit himself, but for what will benefit the entire human race. My reason for speaking in parables is simple; if one dreams for his own selfish interest that’s not visionary, but if that dream can affect the entire people positively who inhabit the earth you are on the right path! What we are doing here is enough to transform the entire society. I’m happy that in Rojenny, the dream of partnering the Anambra State Government is beginning to bear positive fruits. The state government has come forward to embrace our dream by putting standard sporting facilities in place here which are of international standard.
The project commenced during Gov. Peter Obi’s administration before he handed the baton of leadership to the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano. The whole process has been a continuous experience because Governor Obiano has vowed that they will do everything possible to achieve that dream of making Rojenny Games Village the hub of sports revolution in Nigeria. Now the tartan track materials have arrived and I want to beckon on Nigerians to give the venue four years and Olympic champions will be produced from this project at Rojenny.
How soon is the laying of the tartan track going to be completed because many athletes are itching and anxiously waiting to run on these tracks?
Everything is the hands of the state government to finalise. The laying of the track will soon commence from my understanding because we have been waiting for years and months for these materials to be made available. Today, the materials are here and what is remaining is for the job to be completed, therefore we just need to be patient to see all these our aspirations become a reality.
Also, you can see that the company handling the project has already scrubbed the hard floor to enable the turf to be smooth enough for tartan track materials to adhere to the glue that will be applied to the surface. So, the contractors are on course and ready to complete the project
With this massive sporting project going on here, do you have a vision of owning sporting clubs at Rojenny so that these facilities will not be lying fallow and also leave a good legacy for future Nigerians to emulate
My take on your question is very simple; we have Nigerians who have the money to own sports clubs, but they are wasting their money on politics instead of investing it on talented individuals whom God can use to make the country proud in international sporting events.
We want to encourage these money bags to come forth and bankroll sporting activities atRojenny. They can equally own clubs if they wish, so we are using the facilities here to create avenues whereby they can be encouraged to contribute their quota for sports development in Nigeria.
Nothing stops individuals and Corporate Nigeria from coming here to sponsor age grade competitions because these competitions are what we need now in order to discover our future Olympians at their real ages and groom them to stardom.
It might also interest you to know that Rojenny Games Village is a multi- sporting arena which houses many sporting facilities like standard swimming pools, basketball, chess, scrabble, tennis, table tennis, handball, rugby, badminton, football, athletics or track and field events. We also have an amusement park and a mini zoo for our guests to visit. Rojenny is home away from home!
Looking at the Rojenny Stadium and some sporting facilities here, it seems sporting actions have been going in the place; what’s your reaction in this regard?
I cannot be able to count the number of sporting activities going on here now because they are many. For the past years or even before the renovation of the sporting facilities, we have organized many sporting competitions at Rojenny like FA Cup competitions, Traders Cup competitions, school sports events and even using the venue for hosting continental and league matches. Now the renovations of these facilities are going on, we are still hosting sporting events which means churning out future Olympians at Rojenny is a project that is dear to our heart! We are not interested in the resources accruing from using these sporting facilities, but we are interested in people using Rojenny to produce future champions.
Individuals who have the financial muscle can come here and bankroll sporting events free of charge because we need to discover more athletes from the grassroots. We need these people to come home and contribute their quota to sports development in Nigeria!
Finally, what does the future hold for Nigeria in sports with such world-class sporting facilities in place at Rojenny Games Village?
I want to be emphatic here in answering your question. The future of sports development begins here at Rojenny Stadium because with the completion of the laying of the tartan tracks, we must begin to expect a boom in our sports development policies. It is my dream that we must take over athletics from the hands of Jamaicans and Americans. You can see that in the past, this region of the country has produced world-class short distance runners. From Mary Onyealis to Innocent Egbunikes, the list is countless. Our neighbours from Delta State are also doing wonderfully well in athletics with the discovery of athletes like Blessing Okagbare and co. So, we must not be tired in giving future Nigerian Olympians a place to train and hit stardom.