October 4, 2022

NUGA Games in UNIJOS will be classy —Tanko Ishaya

April 20, 2022

Penultimate week marked the end of the 26th edition of the NUGA Games with the flag for the 27th edition billed for 2024 handed over to the University of Jos, UNIJOS.

Hours after UNIJOS won the hosting rights ahead of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Vice Chancellor of the UNIJOS, Prof. Tanko Ishaya revealed his vision for the Games noting that being the first time for the school, they will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the 2024 NUGA Games will be one to be talked about years after.

In this interview with Sportingtribune via Whatsapp, Prof. Ishaya who was elected into office in December 2021, notes that the hosting of the Games will not for the sack of it to also to enable the University set up sporting structures especially a High Performance Centre given the weather conditions in Jos.

How do you feel with UNIJOS winning the hosting rights for the 2024 NUGA Games?

We thank God Almighty that we have it at last. Since the existence of UNIJOS, we have been longing and looking forward to this opportunity. Our thanks also go to those that have made it possible for us to get the hosting rights.
The chairman, Governing Council of the University of Jos, Professor Attahiru Jega was on ground to give us all the necessary support that we needed and that speaks volumes for us as an institution.
Let me say this, getting the hosting rights is one thing but we are conscious that there is a lot required of us.

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You have two years ahead to prepare, how are you going about the funding knowing that the facilities for the Games are key factors?

When we came out to look for this hosting rights, we were conscious of the challenges. We are very optimistic that by the grace of God within the two years, we will bring out the facilities required 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, which is the weather and no one can change that.

We also have the support of the Plateau State government and as I speak, I am glad to tell you that the state government sent the Commissioner of Sports to be with us in UNILAG for the NUGA Games. And that is to say that we have the support of the people to make it happen.

So, we are not alone and by that we are going to extend our search for funds from not only government but from individuals and sports lovers. We have called out a lot of people for funding. It might interest you to know that we recently acquired a sports theatre which is one of the facilities we need to put in place for the Games.

In a year’s time, is it possible to showcase at least part of these facilities you are talking about?

Absolutely! Not even in a year’s time. As we speak we will be able to showcase some of the facilities that we are planning to use. So, in a year’s time we would have significantly done it right. We are not going to relax because we have limited time to prepare.

Aside facilities, what vision do you have in terms of preparations for the athletes that would compete for you at that time?

We love sports and we have quite a number of athletes and coaches. At the Games in Lagos, we had almost 200 students that participated in the Games and we finished 15th place on the table. That is to show the world that in terms of preparation we are going to continue from where we are presently. And I am glad to tell you that we got a gold medal against host UNILAG which is really very fundamental.

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UNIJOS is not going to stop there; we are going to show serious commitment aside from providing facilities.

At the end of your term as Vice Chancellor, what legacy do you want to leave?

I want to see that UNIJOS emerges the best university in Nigeria in terms of educational standard. And to see it also competing with other international universities in the world, not just in Nigeria.

What should we be looking at in terms sporting excellence?

We have already commenced preparations. We are now going to go ahead towards establishing a centre of excellence. Not just sporting activities but anything that have to do with human kinetics and so on. So that’s what we hope to actually achieve.

What will this hosting right add to UNIJOS?

As I said earlier on, the hosting right we got from NUGA is not only going to be useful in the University. It will add a great potential to the city and the people of Plateau and its social economic activities. More importantly, Jos City is a great place for High Altitude Training. Setting up a High Performance Centre in this regard will go a long way in providing the necessary infrastructure Nigeria will benefit from because part of it will be an Olympic Size swimming pool that will also help in training, therapy, performance and recovery for athletes and others.

A major issue is that of security, what are your plans?

Of course the issue of security if you look at is one that is important and the Plateau State government is doing well in that regard. We will ensure there is stability and peace by setting up the right security measures in motion.
Nevertheless, Nigeria is what it is today and you will find out that there are security issues in everywhere part of the country. Government is doing quite a lot to make sure that peace returns everywhere.

From the university’s point of view, we have achieved successful grounds towards ensuring that we provide some level of security on campus in terms of perimeter fencing and lots more. We are also requesting for funds to make sure that at least we have technology that will 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 conscious of key areas of concern and we will make sure that all that needs to be done is properly taken care of.

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