It is an undisputable fact that Plateau State historically was and is a geographical space endowed with rich, envious socio-cultural, human and natural resources as one could remember from elementary social studies, regardless of the present situation of palpable bitterness and rancor among the diverse population.
Suffice it to say that a deliberate effort at reshaping and rebuilding – an overhaul of the State, by individuals, groups and corporate organisations is imperative to put the narrative in proper perspective for the future of the coming generations.
Interestingly, one man, Emanuel John, through ‘GOLF Sport’ at Rayfield Golf Academy, Jos has taken up the gauntlet in the midst of nothing to make a difference amid the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth among the people for a Messiah to come; even as the economy is ‘fantastically’ unfriendly.
Incidentally, the Rayfield Golf Academy was established in 1999 by Mr John, a prolific golfer and member of the Rayfield Golf Club, Jos; aimed at building a future for the coming kids of Plateau State where hopelessness and despair will be a cliche.
But, it was never a pleasure ride given the socioeconomic and political emasculation of the country, Plateau State to be specific, until 17 years down the line when a ‘messiah’ did come to help boost the project.
Mr John in a recent interview however, told SOKOnnect that the messiah is His Excellency, Simon Bako Lalong, the Governor of Plateau State whose intervention was a turning point in the development of the Rayfield Golf Academy.
According to John, “The journey in building the structures of Rayfield Golf Academy since 1999 until when Lalong assumed office in 2015, was filled with mixed feelings; I started the project of the golf academy to contribute my quota to the development of humanity in Plateau State.”
“As you may agree with me, the beginning of any endeavours is never easy, at all; so is the Rayfield Golf Academy; but the interesting thing was that the people keyed into the project; because they love golf game and it has been a successful story to this day; many golfers have been churned out and are doing well today in the game.,” John said.
By 2016, the 17th year of Rayfield Golf Academy, the management deemed it necessary to host national junior event that would give the kids a sense of belonging and exposure in the game.
“Incidentally, Governor Simon Lalong became our messiah in the project; we approached him for assistance and he didn’t hesitate to accept; interestingly, he’s a golfer and he had a philanthropic spirit which made everything simple and we hosted the first Plateau State Junior Open Golf Championship in 2016.
“I’m pleased to let you know the Championship is now a yearly affair; again the Governor has been sponsoring the kids in different Junior Open Golf Championships as the Awa Ibraheem Junior Open Golf Championship; NGF Zonal Open Golf Championship; National Youth Games among others,” John whose children are all golfers revealed enthusiastically.
In a show of appreciation for Governor Lalong’s magnanimity in reshaping and rebuilding the future of the kids in Plateau State through golf, Mr John enthused, “It’s a thing of joy that the kids off Rayfield Golf Academy have been wining laurels for the state; making the Governor and Plateau State proud.”
“The kids on their hand have benefited from the Governor immensely; they have been well exposed at their level of preteen and teenage; they have visited places, they fly in aeroplane, know what the airport look like – the beauty of the airport; beyond Plateau State, they have made new friends around the country and beyond, known places name it; it’s all part of the benefits they have derived from golf under sponsorship of Governor Lalong.” he enthused.
On the challenges that the Academy might face at the exit of Governor Lalong from the Government House he said, “A foundation has been laid for continuity.”
“There are some organisations as the Nasco, that have also been supporting the Academy; they are still very faithful and parents are also making some commitments; we charge some tokens for the running of the Academy and we’ll also want other well-meaning individuals and more corporate organisations to partner with us, because golf is a noble sport that changes the life of an individual to become a better product for the society generally,” be concluded.
All said and weighed, it is hoped that the Rayfield Golf Academy will continue to blossom to compliment Governor Lalong’s efforts to make the state a better place for all going forward.