Former Governor of Ogun State, in Western Nigeria, Gbenga Daniel, has described sports as a veritable tool for economic development.
Mr Daniel made the remarks in Sagamu while playing host to members of the National Executive Committee of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) who were at his residence to pay him a courtesy visit.
He noted that sports can create employment, empowerment and above all, develop the society economically.
He has however called on financially-muscled Nigerians to invest in sports.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on well-meaning Nigerians who have the financial muscle, people like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr. Mike Adenuga and host of others to try as much as possible to invest in sports.
“I heard in the news some time ago that Alhaji Aliko Dangote wants to buy Arsenal Football Club. Well, he is a businessman, he must have seen the potential of making profit by acquiring the club but I want him to look inwards and consider having a Dangote Football Club in Nigeria.
“By doing this, there will be employment for some set of people and those depending on them for their daily needs will also benefit indirectly.
“It is also funny when I hear people say that sports does not bring any kind of profit when invested in. I remember when we hosted the Gateway Games in 2006, I think we recorded about 92 million Naira profit after the competition.
“Therefore, it is important to note here that sports as much as I know is one of the most profitable ventures. Aside the economic value attached to sports, it also reduces social vices in the society because whenever any sporting event is taking place, the environment becomes friendly and devoid of any form of criminality,” he said.
In his address, SWAN President, Honour Sirawoo, stated that the former governor’s tremendous achievements in the sports sector while in office prompted the council to visit him.
“We are here today (Friday) to let you know that all what you did to develop sports in Ogun State and Nigeria at large when you were serving as governor did not go unnoticed. And that is the reason we are here tell you that you are recognised and highly appreciated for your efforts.”
Sirawoo went on to announce Mr Daniel as the association’s national patron.
He, however, hinted that the formal investiture would be held at a later date and at the convenience of the recipient.