Sports Minister States His Administration’s Two-Fold Focus

By Lekan Sowande, Abuja.

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Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Enoh, said his administration will pursue a two-fold focus, as part of the plans to reposition sports in the country.

Speaking to stakeholders in Lagos, Enoh said the two-fold focus rests on sports development and sports for development as a way of harnessing the potentials of sports for Nigeria.

He explained that the first prong of sports development will take grassroots development as a special sub-focus where the country will focus on providing a platform for budding and raw talents to be unearthed for refinement.

“Grassroots development will focus on the extent to which as a ministry and a country, we are able to provide the infrastructure and amenities at the grassroots level, where our talents are located,” Enoh said.

“We have untapped talents in our local areas, individuals that do not have the opportunity to showcase themselves. We must provide pitches, courts that will expose these talents in areas that are neglected.”

“We don’t want to just say it, but we want to take practical steps that at the end of my tenure, we have measurable impacts of our work,” he added.

Expatiating further, the Sports Minister said grassroots development also entails establishing and running leagues across different sports at the youth level. School sports, underaged competitions are important to this plan.

“We must also provide a transition plan for our discovered talents to move from the youth level to elite level,” Minister Enoh said.

Second Focus: Sports for Development

Senator John Enoh said sports should not be development just for the sake of it, but the concern should also extend to ensuring sports contributes to the nation’s economic development.

“The National Bureau of Statistics has no place for sports as a contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Enoh added. “One of the things I will do, is to engage with the NBS to evaluate some of the factors that are considered in identifying a sector as a contributor to national GDP. And these things will be pursued.”

“The National Sports Industry Policy which I met focuses on treating sports as a business. This is one of the things we will pursue. We will pursue to see how we can tap sports contribution to national unity and national integration.”

“No sector showcases our national colours (green and white) as much as sports does. In my experience of watching Tennis, a guy like Novak Djokovic has placed Serbia on the world map by his appearances at every grand slam. This is something we can emulate and do in our country.”

The Minister charged the media to support his plans and play a key role in sports development. He called for fair reportage and sense of patriotism to be placed above anything else