Over 1000 golfers, both professionals and up-coming from Lagos, Jos the capital of Plateaus state, Kaduna and other parts of the country have converged at the Gongila Valley Golf Court, Ashaka Cement Factory in Gombe state for the maiden edition of the Gombe Talba Open Golf tournament held from the 28th to 30th of April, 2017.
The tournament which is the first of its kind in the state was organized by the state government in collaboration with the management of the Ashaka Cement factory.
Speaking at the event, the executive governor of Gombe state, His Excellency Ibrahim Dankwambo said the tournament is aimed at boosting the economic development of the state and country at large as well as serving as an empowerment for the teaming youths who have taken interest in sports.
The Governor who was ably represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Information, Honourable Umar Ahmed Sulaiman also said that the tournament serves as a unifying factor for lovers of sports from various fields since the likes of military generals, politicians, academia, businessmen and religious leaders among others were all attracted to the event.
“It is a very important occasion because it brings in synergy, cohesion among different categories of individuals and it is an event that needs to be done from time to time,” the governor said.
Governor Dankwambo however said that, although coming to the state used to be a nightmare, the security which his government has brought to the state has made it both a tourist and sporting centre for people living even outside the state.
“I thank the people of Gombe state and the security agencies for the security of this place. Before now, security used to be the issue in coming to Gombe but today, Gombe is secure.”
The governor thanked the management of Ashaka Cement plc under the leadership of the Managing Director, Alh. Rabiu Abdulahi Umar for partnering the state in organizing the tournament.
Also speaking, the Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar commended the Gombe state government and the management of Ashaka Cement plc for providing the platform for sports development in the state.
Stating the reasons for partnering the state in staging the tournament, the MD, Ashaka Cement, Alh. Rabiu Abdulahi Umar said golf sport is a game for all. He said “it is a game that one can start playing at the age of two and continue playing even to the age of 100.”
Alh. Umar added that the next step towards taking the golf tournament to greater heights is to establish a golf course in the state. He also thanked the state government under the governorship of Ibrahim Dankwambo for providing the enabling environment for the Ashaka Cement Company to keep operating in the state.
The Chairman, Gombe state sports Commission, Alh. Bello Sulaiman said the presence of the high caliber dignitaries, some of whom were military Generals, Emirs, governors, business moguls, politicians and others served as a boost to the young athletes.
“You can imagine the kind of love and support the MD Ashaka has for the sporting development in Gombe state. He did not hesitate to accept and sign the proposal for the tournament,” and to you all, “we appreciate you for coming. Your coming here has boosted the minds of the young people in Gombe,” he said.
Some of the highpoint of the event were the donation of land for a golf course center by the Emir of Tula and the presentation of prizes to the winners where some of the golfers who emerged winners and runner-ups smiled home with sound systems, microwaves, flat screen televisions and many more.
Expressing their happiness, both the overall best winner in the tournament, Mr. Emmanuel Nyam from Jos and one of the female golfer winners in the Longest Drive, Ladies category, Mrs. Martina Jummai Saleh said they were very happy with both the state government and the management of Ashaka cement for organizing the tournament.
Other dignitaries at the event include: the former military governor of Gombe state, Col. Inuwa Bawa who participated in the tournament, the Emir of Tula, COAS Tukur Buratai who was the guest of honour and represented by Maj. Gen. Ahmed A. Mohammed; the Emir Ashaka, Professor Adiga, the Federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission, Alha. Haruna Mahmuda, Captain B.B Auta, General David Lubo among others.