The Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun has called for the development of sports at the grassroot level in the country.
The governor said that the current challenges the country is facing sustaining its competitive sport reputation as a regional, continental and a global champion can only be addressed in the long term when the country returns to grassroot sports.
Abiodun made this call during the 3rd Edition of the Ogun State Public Primary Schools Governor’s Cup Competition held at the M.K.O International Stadium, Abeokuta.
He opined that sports provides a veritable platform for the development of everyone and a wholesome education plan.
“Sports provide a veritable platform for the development of all of us and a wholesome education plan, the hosting of this Governor’s Cup has afforded all participants the opportunity to widen the horizon for knowledge and Sports activities.
“Apart from development of skills in our youths, grassroot sports is essential to provide an array of sports men and women for competitive events at all levels.
“The current challenge we have in sustaining our national competitive sport reputation as a regional, continental and global levels will be addressed in the long term when we return to grassroots sports.
“It is instructive to note that most of the former and current thriving sport men and women such as Segun Odegbami, Felix Owolabi, Akeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon, Falilat Ogunkoya and so many others, were those that were made at this level, including our latest current world record holder, Tobi Amusan, they were all discovered through local competitive sporting events such as this,” he said.
Abiodun while calling on well meaning investors and individuals to come and partner with the state government in the development of sports, said that it is important for the country to begin to nurture the younger and agile generation so as to be able to compete internationally.
“I therefore call on well meaning investors and individuals to come and partner with us, you will find us willing and ready partners,
“We cannot afford to continue to rely on ageing sports men and women, we must begin to nuture our young agile ones to compete internationally.
“Let me assure our stakeholders in the sporting industry that our administration will continue to support sports, not just football as an avenue to harness the raw energy of our youths,” he stated.
Governor Dapo Abiodun while acknowledging the efforts of the Team Ogun who recently won 70 medals comprising 15 gold, 18 silver and 37 Bronze medals at the just concluded National Sports Festival held in Delta State, promised that the state apart from aiming to host the best sports festival ever, would also ensure that it comes first.
The governor also urged the pupils to eschew all forms of violence during and after competitions.
In his address, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education, Chief Femi Majekodunmi, while appreciating the governor for his support which ensured the success of the competition, said that the board would continue to play its role of nurturing talents from the primary school level.
Majekodunmi who also noted that the competition was introduced by the Board to build the pupils, said that the conception and implementation of school sport helps to instill patience, team work into the lives of the future leaders.
The state chairman of the National Association of Primary Schools Games and Sport Teachers (NAPSGAST), Opedimeji Ola, while noting that sports in general and football in particular is a unifying factor and the panacea to the socio-security challenges that have bedeviled the country in recent times, said that the just concluded Ogun State Sports Festival for all public primary schools and the 3rd Edition of the Ogun State Governor’s Cup for primary schools have shown that talents abound in the country.
Opedimeji expressed his happiness at the display of quality football by the pupils on the field of play, appealed to corporate bodies and wealthy individuals to see sport as a golden investment and service to humanity.
The Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Dr. Oluwadare Kehinde, while noting that the technical team of the ministry was on ground to pick as well as nurture talents discovered at the competition, commending Governor Abiodun for his support to the ministry at the just concluded National Sports Festival just concluded in Delta State.
Also speaking, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, who was represented by the Director of School Sports, Olarotimi Okeleye commended the governor for supporting the hosting of the competition.