Ex Niger State Gov. Babangida Aliyu Lauds Niger Tornadoes League Sustenance
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By Amaechi Agbo
Former governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu has lauded his successor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello on sustaining his imprint in the state-owned Niger Tornadoes Football Club of Minna.
Niger Tornadoes are among the top Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL clubs in the country from the northern region that have remained ever presence in the league for some years.
A feat the immediate past governor, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu noted is rare considering that some clubs with rich traditions in the region have gone into extinction or battling for survival in the lower leagues.
“I am so happy that a former minister of sports, Sani Ndanusa who is here with us, was a commissioner in my government and he paid attention to all that we did in sports (in Niger State),” the ex governor started while fielding questions from journalists at the final of the 2022 Life Camp Volleyball Club Championship in Abuja on Sunday.
“I am happy that that the Niger State Government is sustaining our football, (Niger Tornadoes). Virtually in Northern states, many of their teams are already dead,” he said.
Niger Tornadoes are among the 20 clubs that will be participating in the 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL season due to start in January 2023.
Popularly referred to as the “Servant Leader” during his eight-year administration in the state, Dr Aliyu explained why he had to ignore the 2022 World Cup final match between Argentina and France to be in Abuja for the Volleyball Tournament
“It is not just volleyball, the most important thing is the game. This is a grassroots competition that needs serious encouragement and we must support them. The people who have passion and have made available their time and resources to encourage and promote the game of volleyball and every other sports to grow in the country deserves our support.
“The way we have been losing, (in sporting events) calls for concern. We are losing in sports at global stage because we have not paid attention at the grassroots level. That is why any time we get this kind of opportunity, we try to show up, so that people will understand the importance and those who are in it will be encouraged to continue to do it.
“I was Permanent Secretary in the Federal Capital Territory when the idea about Life Camp Volleyball Club Championship came up. For me, it has always been like that. We will try and do our best but I think the federal government, and the private sector must come in to make sure that our sports grow. Sports unite.”
The sum of ₦.440 million was shared among the winners of the competition in both men and women categories.
While Team White got ₦100, 000 for winning the men category, their female sisters also go equal amount for emerging winners of the women category.
Second-placed teams got ₦70, 000 each while bronze medal winners received ₦50, 000 each in the categories.