UNIJOS 2024 will be the best NUGA games ever – Prof. Tanko Ishaya | The Guardian Nigeria News
Last weekend marked the end of the 26th edition of the NUGA Games with the handover of the flag for the 27th edition, scheduled for 2024, at the University of Jos, UNIJOS.
Hours after UNIJOS won the hosting rights in front of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, UNIJOS Vice-Chancellor Professor Tanko Ishaya revealed his vision for the Games, noting that it was the first time for school, they would leave nothing to chance. making sure the NUGA 2024 Games are the talk of the town years later.
In this interview, Professor Ishaya, elected in December 2021, notes that hosting the Games will not be for fun but also to allow UNIJOS to set up sports structures, including a High Performance Center given the Jos. Weather
What do you think of UNIJOS obtaining the hosting rights for the NUGA 2024 Games?
We thank Almighty God for finally having it. Since the existence of UNIJOS, we are looking forward to this opportunity. Our thanks also go to those who enabled us to obtain the hosting rights.
The Chairman of the Board of the University of Jos, Professor Attahiru Jega was on the ground giving us all the necessary support that we needed and that says a lot about us as an institution.
Let me say this, getting the hosting rights is one thing, but we realize there are a lot of demands on our part.
You have two years ahead of you to prepare, how do you manage the financing knowing that the facilities for the Games are key factors?
When we came to collect the hosting rights, we were aware of the challenges. We are very optimistic that, by the grace of God, within two years we will have the necessary facilities in place to be able to host one of the best NUGA games in the history of this country. We already have one thing going for us in Jos, it’s the weather and no one can change that.
We also have the support of the Plateau State Government and as I speak I am happy to tell you that the State Government has sent the Sports Commissioner to be with us at UNILAG for the NUGA Games. And that is to say, we have the support of the people to make it happen.
So, we are not alone and through this, we will extend our search for funds not only from the government but also from individuals and sports fans. We appealed to many people for funds. It may interest you to know that we have recently acquired a sports theater which is part of the facilities we need to put in place for the Games.
In a year, is it possible to present at least some of these installations you are talking about?
Absoutely! Not even in a year. As we speak, we will be able to showcase some of the facilities we plan to use. So, in a year, we would have done well. We are not going to relax because we have little time to prepare.
Beyond the facilities, what vision do you have in terms of preparing the athletes who would compete for you at that time?
We love sports and we have a number of athletes and coaches. At the Lagos Games, we had nearly 200 students who participated in the Games and we finished 15th in the standings. It’s to show the world that in terms of preparation, we’re going to continue where we are now. And I’m happy to tell you that we won a gold medal against UNILAG, which is really very fundamental.
UNIJOS will not stop there; we will show serious commitment in addition to providing facilities.
At the end of your term as Vice-Chancellor, what legacy do you want to leave?
I want to see UNIJOS emerge as the best university in Nigeria in terms of educational standards. And to also see it compete with other international universities in the world, not just in Nigeria.
What should we be looking at in terms of sporting excellence?
We have already started preparations. We will now move forward towards establishing a center of excellence. Not just sports activities, but anything to do with human kinetics, etc. So that’s what we really hope to achieve.
What will this hosting right bring to UNIJOS?
As I said earlier, the hosting right we got from NUGA will not only be useful for the University. It will add great potential to the city and the population of the Plateau and its socio-economic activities. More importantly, Jos City is a great place for high altitude training. The establishment of a high performance center in this regard will go a long way in providing the necessary infrastructure from which Nigeria will benefit, as part of it will be an Olympic size swimming pool which will also help in training, therapy, performance and recovery of athletes and others.
A major issue is that of safety, what are your projects?
Of course, the issue of security, if you look at it, is important and the Plateau State government is doing well in this regard. We will ensure stability and peace by putting in place the right security measures in motion.
Nevertheless, Nigeria is what it is today and you will find that there are security issues all over the country. The government is doing a lot to bring peace everywhere.
From the university’s point of view, we have managed to provide a certain level of security on campus in terms of perimeter fencing and much more. We are also asking for funding to ensure that we have at least one piece of technology to add to our security architecture.
So, in essence, UNIJOS is safe for NUGA?
UNIJOS is safe for NUGA and by the grace of God we will host the best NUGA games ever. We are also aware of the main areas of concern and will ensure that anything that needs to be done is properly taken care of.