I have followed with keen interest the noise about the wasteful spending as alleged by Edo PDP on the Okpekpe race which held last Saturday, 13th May.

I thought it was necessary to disabuse the minds of those who saw the race as a drain on the public purse and explain to them that the benefits garnered from the race cannot be reduced to monetary terms. Significantly, the race has socio-economic benefits as well as the unprecedented positive image it has created for the state.

Economically, the value of the race is priceless because of the importance and its legacy. About 3,000 kids benefited from the Super Sports Let’s Play Initiative. For these children, a seed has been sown, and they will draw inspiration from their experiences for years to come.

The hospitality business in Edo experienced huge economic activities. Hotels were fully booked, food and drinks vendors had a boom effect throughout the  period preceding and after the race. That way, monies were put in the pockets of our people.

The goodwill effects and international diplomacy of the race is no doubt remarkable. The race which is globally recognised by IAAF with bronze label status has now earned itself a probable silver label, a step higher than its previous accredited status.

The race has marketed Edo state and Nigeria at large more than any other event – whether by government or private sector. The international athletes who participated in the race will go to their home countries and speak good about Edo state and Nigeria. The diplomatic gain and the message that Edo is open for business is very loud and clear.

Coming down the community, there is no doubt that the race has opened it to the world. Everyone now knows about that community, it is now on the world map. The ripple effect is massive. If such community can hold such race, then it can accommodate businesses and investment. There is no advertising manager or agency in the world that market what the Okpekpe race has done for that community. It is huge and unprecedented.

Interest in sports – football, racing including motor sports have increased significantly. And if harnessed effectively, it would engage our people with skills, jobs, growth and development.

Okpekpe 10km Road is a bold statement that we can organise and hold our own. If we can organise this efficiently without any glitches, it shows the world that we are developing. They will not give us the opportunity to host big world events, if we have no experience or previous hosting knowledge to show. Do you know how much it cost to host the London Marathon?

Sports marketing and media is not left from the list of positives gained from the race. Let’s shelve this attitude of always killing what will advance our society. We can never attain or leave the developing status if we can’t strive. There are some things you don’t put a price tag on, Okpekpe 10km Road Race is certainly one of them. It is priceless.

Thought I help you out to explain why no one should raise an eyebrow about the Okpekpe race spend. Besides, it was a private sector driven event and Edo government merely contributed towards it. That itself is government’s obligation to support and promote the development of Sports. Any rational mind would undoubtedly agree that sports development in Edo and Nigeria is something that we should  pursue vigorously. To do so, it requires investment, it requires government commitment and that’s what Edo government led by Godwin Obaseki did. May the lack of knowledge not hamper our growth and development. God bless Edo State. – @gloria_adagbon