Friday, 26 March 2021

IJESA YOUTH CARNIVAL 2021: Tijani Usman is using youth engagement to run awareness-raising amongst Ijesa youths as he organizes a One-Day Sporting/Musical Carnival


Oladimeji Lasore reporting from the venue of press conference on the maiden edition of Ijesa Grand Marathon addressed by Mr Tijani Usman, C.E.O. Beltij Limited on 26, March 2021 at the Ijesa Sports Club.

Saturday, April 3, 2021 will be a day like never before in Ijesaland with traffic of men and women, deployment of security personnel and swarm of visitors which will go into history books.

The day will feature 2-pronged events dubbed "Re-awakening of the Giant", starting with the Marathon racing in the morning hours. A earth shaking musical concert featuring international and national artistes will follow in the evening. 

 This is informed by a growing army of active but jobless youth of Ijesaland, most of who are virile, well educated, talented and willing to contribute to national development but handicapped and dehumanised by the excruciating socio-economic and political milieu. The ensuing hardship and hopelessness on the part of the youth ignited the passion to stem the growing restiveness by youth of Ijesaland through the instrumentality of Sport.

All over the world, Sport has remained a strong weapon of youth mobilisation, focused orientation and economic empowerment. 

Tijani Usman the CEO of Beltij Limited is  a privileged ijesaman who had spent valuable years outside Nigeria, his accumulated experience and international exposure afforded him an  invaluable opportunity to assess and appropriate the needs and desires of an average Ijesa youth. 

Before now, he had engaged Ijesa youth on some productive ventures but the planned IJESA YOUTH CARNIVAL 2021 is a project conceived to bring all Ijesa youth under one umbrella and foster friendly atmosphere to build consensus and intellectual capacity for their future endeavours.

This maiden IJESA GRAND MARATHON has been planned to cater for the interest of international athletes yet accomodate national professionals and Ijesa amateurs in both Male and female categories. 

It is significant to report that international sprinters are being expected from Kenya and Uganda while national sprinters will come from Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Edo and Ogun States among others. 

Special provision has been made for Ijesa amateurs and budding stars to motivate, assist and advance their interest in the athletics for career progression.

The Ijesa Grand Marathon is a private initiative borne out of patriotic zeal and therefore self sponsored.

The 10kilometre road race has been professionally marked out for athletes and security guide.

About 70 officials will start arriving Ilesa from next Thursday to superintend the event on Saturday. Among  them are Chief Tony Osheku, Race Director and husband of Veteran medalist Falilat Ogunkoya and Coach Lawrence Adegbehingbe, Commonwealth Gold medalist. These legendary sportsmen are fully involved in the planning and ultimately ensure that all the standard rules and regulations as well as Covid-19 protocols rule the competition.

Two days preceding the event have been earmarked for medical check up for participating athletes to determine their fitness and avoid unforseen contingencies. 

While winners will be decorated with medals,  other participants will go home with certificates.

All arms of security have been mobilised to ensure a hitch free sprinting.

Arrangement has also been concluded to house the officials and cater for their welfare. 

Various efforts have been put together to carry along major stakeholders in the affairs of Ijesaland starting with the Paramount Ruler, Oba Dr Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II, Chiefs, Elders, public officials, top socialites and many more. 

It is also in the plan to complement the efforts of government in Sports development while also calling attention to the dilapidated condition of the Ilesa stadium. Fixing the stadium will assist in discovering hidden talents and free their minds from devil's workshop. 

In order to strenghten the interest of participating athletes in this maiden marathon, will go home with mouth watering prizes in excess of Two million naira.

There will be prizes for 20 boys and 20girls in the Ijesa indigenous category and another 20 prizes for Osun-wide Participants while 10men and 10women will cart away prizes in the National professional category. 

Special awards to deserving Ijesa for their role in sport development is also in the offing.

By the time the dust settles on the Grand marathon,  the second phase of the programme tagged "IJESA GRAND CARNIVAL " featuring international and national artistes notably 9ice, Taye Currency, DJs, Comedians, traditional.Adamo crooners and many more will take the  centre stage at Ilesa Sports stadium. It will be fun, razzmatazz and back slapping from 2.00pm till dusk under klieglight with combined arms of security patrolling the arena and the surroundings to ward off unwanted guests.

With the anticipated success of this marathon, it shall move to the next level thereafter. This will involve widening the scope of participation beyond Osun state and Nigeria, building the network of technical back up and synergy with all relevant stakeholders including security and the media sustainably.

Mr. Tijani Usman was flanked by Mr. Wale Idowu, Coach Olayinka Ogunkeye, Technical Consultant, Mr.Wale Akererele among others.


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