Minister Meets Sports State Directors For National Youth Games
By Lekan Sowande, Abuja.
The Forum leadership of Directors of Sports in the 36 States of the federation and that of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), paid a familiarisation visit to the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, in his office ahead of the 7th edition of the National Youth Games (NYG) in Asaba, Delta State.
The members of the forum were led on the visit by its Chairman and Ebonyi State Director of Sports, Emmanuel Utobo, to the minister’s office located at Package A of the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
In his remarks, Utobo said the essence of the visit was to officially felicitate with him on his appointment as the Minister of Sports Development, as well as to intimate him on the activities of the forum, whose members forms bulk of constituents that makes up the National Council on Sports in Nigeria.
“The forum of Directors of Sports play a pivotal role in the development of sports in Nigeria through grassroots sports because all the athletes are nurtured from the state, before being turned over to the federations and national teams as elite competitors,” Utobo said.
He reiterated that sports is incomplete without collective planning and participation of the forum, hence their utmost desire is to work with the ministry, under the watch of Senator Enoh by partnering with him and complementing his vision and goals for the nation’s sports sector, at the states and zonal levels.
“While appreciating you (Sports Minister) for granting us audience as leaders of the forum and Directors of Sports of our respective States, we appeal to you to see and accord our forum its rightful place,” Utobo added.
“This is a serious component for core decision-making that would help in repositioning sports development and policies in the country.”
The forum advised the Sports Minister to canvass more support and more investments in the area of sports development at the grassroots, to complement the efforts of the Federal Government. This they said can be done if the States and zones are made more functional with all year round activities.
In his response, the Sports Minister specifically promised to grant all sports the attention they deserve without bias and intends to converge all stakeholders to a meeting of the Council of Sports in due course. This would help in modifying and solidifying the nation’s sports policy, to be at par with the world’s best standards.
Senator Enoh also revealed his intention to meet with the Governor’s forum to solicit their support for sports development and funding.
“Finally, I will like to assure the forum that we will prioritise the revitalisation of the eight (8) sports zonal offices by bringing them back to life without further delay, to anchor our programmes and serve as our liaison with the states under their watch,” the Sports Minister said.
The Bayelsa State Director of Sports, Braveman Wodi, who is the Public Relations Officer of the forum, lauded the minister for giving the forum a listening ear and assured him of effective collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, for him to achieve a fruitful tenure a minister.
The high point of the visit was the presentation of souvenirs to the Sports Minister, as well as a group photograph.
Other Directors in attendance at the visit were Vice-Chairman of the forum, Usman Umar Ladan, who is also the Director of Sports Kebbi State, Zainab Isaku, Treasurer of the forum and the Gombe State Director of Sports and Baba Shesi, the Niger State Director of Sports.