Saturday, October 11, 2008

Do Business and Play Golf at Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria

The country has witnessed an increase in the number of golf courses. This is a positive development as Golf is one game that befits both the old and the young. It is a game that shapes character and defines personality, erroneously thought to be the game of the rich and privileged.

These were some of the lines I learnt from Silver Oforgu, the Public Relation Officer, Ibori Golf Course and Club, Asaba when I paid a visit to the emerging city on the river Niger recently. According to him, there are programs designed to encourage the young to cultivate Golf through their youth development program. This three week program comes up shortly before the Governor’s Cup every year. Let us call it the Golf Advantage Program (GAP). In few years as these young ones develop their skills in the sport (gradually gaining recognition as the game that would usher in sports tourism to the country), most of them would end up as members of Ibori Golf Course or other courses playing amateur or professional golf and winning laurels for their clubs and country.

What is now known as Ibori Golf Course was started in 1984/5 by Air Commodore Ibrahim Kefas (Rtd), the military administrator of Delta state but it was not until the assumption of office by Chief James Ibori as governor of the state that serious attention was paid to the development of the sport with 9 holes and a course completely fenced. Now the course boasts of all green 18 holes, trees and bamboos on the fairway and a massive club house.

The club has hosted several tournaments under the auspices of the Nigerian Golf Federation (NGF) since its inception including the Governor’s Cup, 2006, 1st and 2nd Odibo Classics, the president’s cup, the independence and chief of air staff tournaments. According to Mr. Oforgu, the club plans to host a tournament for the governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, a member of the club. T h e club boasts of distinguished personalities as members and trustees, including Ogbueshi Ubaka Attoh (captain), Chief Odibo (vice captain), Chief P.C Asiodu, Hon. Justice Midoh, and Dr. Popo amongst others.

It is therefore no surprise that the club is at ease with corporate organizations in the sponsorship of tournaments. Members have had the privilege of playing in other Courses in Nigeria and overseas, winning prizes for their cherished club. Visits are also exchanged with golf players from different parts of the country, with plans underway to invite international players in the likes of Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo and lady golfers.

Further, the rising profile of Asaba as a business address and a getaway destination has provided the club with visitors and golfers taking advantage of visits to Asaba to participate in games and vice versa. Asaba, the administrative capital of Delta state is a city of the future. With many hotels dotting the cityscape such as Grand, Orchid, Nelrose and Chad-ef, Asaba is emerging as a convention city loved for its tranquility and hospitality by the locals.

It has several tourist attractions including the Lander Brothers anchorage, Mungo Park house and the river Niger amongst other sites that cut across culture, monuments and ecology. Some of the sports that may be enjoyed in Asaba include boat ride, yachting, bird watching and golf. In Asaba, it is possible to combine business and leisure.

Ndudi Osakwe in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria