The Okpekpe race in Edo State has come to a close with its attendant memories and gains. My thoughts focus on a man that ought to be recognised and celebrated but is not known by many even in his State of Edo. Mike Itemuagbor, CEO Pamodzi Sports Marketing Nigeria Limited, is a quiet, humble and enterprising indigene of Edo State based in Lagos.
What has he done to warrant my thoughts? Nothing extraordinary, he did not construct the Okpekpe road? Credit for that must go to the Comrade Governor. Was he a winner at the Okpekpe race? He is too chubby to engage in such tasking competition. Then why am I referring to him? Simple. He conceived the idea of the race, nurtured it and has made it a reality. Is that all? No. He comes from Okpekpe and while many from that area appreciated the construction of a road that previous governments had neglected because of its windy and hilly terrain, he saw an opportunity to showcase his community, add value to government effort and bring excitement and even financial gain to his local people.
Ideas and not power or positions rule the world. Nigeria and indeed Edo state are in dire need of men and women of ideas who can transform our state from how it is, to what it should be. Ideas can bring back our sports glory. Can we not reinvent our schools sports so that our children with talent can be discovered and nurtured to become future Usain Bolts? Ideas can bring private sector sponsorship of sporting events rather than expecting government to do everything. Ogbe hard Court was an international lawn tennis event in Benin City sponsored by Guiness Nigeria PLC that brought excitement, tourist and commercial gains to the City but alas it’s no more.
Bendel insurance football club was the darling of football lovers in and around the state but today, her story is a sad one of relegation arising from lack of adequate sponsorship. Ideas, initiatives and follow up are what we desperately need to change the situation. We therefore recognise, Mike Itemuagbor as a man of ideas, and congratulate him on the success of the Okpekpe race, and our confession is The Future Is Now, especially for those who dare to dream.