Nigeria Is Collaborating With Other West Africa Countries In Sports Development – FG
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By Amaechi Agbo
The federal government of Nigeria has disclosed that it is partnering other countries in West Africa to develop sports in the sub-region, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report
Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday dare disclosed this while addressing participants at the on-going first edition of Young Leaders in Sports Seminar in Abuja.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, in the ministry, Adesola Olusade added that Nigeria is playing a big brother role in promoting sports development not just in the sub-region but in the continent.
“Nigeria, no doubt is a big brother in Africa and we play this role by supporting various initiatives that will enhance sports development in other countries in the continent.
“For instance, we accepted to host the Africa Union Sports Council young leaders seminar. And so far, I think it is only one country or two that have been able to provide tangible financial support. But we believe that the region must be sustained and supported, therefore the government of Nigeria have provided the resources to support the activities of the AUSC Region 2.
“There are still areas we may expand on this. For instance, there are only two standard velodrome in West Africa sub-region, one of them is in Nigeria. We are working very hard to ensure that we get it accredited and when it has the UCI (Union Cycling International) accreditation, it will now be opened to members of AUSC Region 2 to use.
“When he came on board, the honourable minister observed a very pathetic situation of sports infrastructure in Nigeria. Nigeria is called a football nation but we have very few sporting facilities that meet FIFA standard. He has embarked on extensive engagement to ensure that we put our facilities in order. And when these are done, we will be able to organise more friendlies and ask our brothers in Region 2 to join us.
“So these are the little efforts we are making, however, they are not enough. We believe that we can still do more. As needs arise, member states should collaborate and let us network with each other so we can jointly share our aspirations and concerns,” he said.
Earlier in her address, AUSC Interim Head, Ms Linda Paul Kessy commended the federal government for its effort in seeing to the needs of the council but appealed for more collaborations with member states in sports development.
“Sports in Africa is undergoing major reforms and transformations. In January 2012, the Africa Union Executive Council dissolved the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa and endorsed the establishment of the architecture for sport in Africa and transfers its functions to the Africa Commission and establishment of the AUSC Secretariat which among other functions is mandated to promote sports development and development through sports.
“To ensure proper coordination and scaling down of the AUSC Secretariat functions and to ensure relevance in contributing to the social and economic development in the continent, the Executive decision further requested the Commission to restructure the former Supreme Council for Sports in Africa Sports Development Zones into 5 AU Sports Development Regions. AUSC Region 2 is hosted in Nigeria which has been very instrumental in advancing sports agenda in the region and at the continental level.
“Sport is a cross cutting issue and speaks the language which is understood by young people and it is mainly participated by them. Unfortunately, their voice and representation at the managerial level is very low. Various reasons are associated with low representation. It is against this background and in line with the Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6, the AU Sport Council in collaboration with the AUSC region 2 took the step ahead to train young leaders in sports as trainers in the area of sports management and that after this seminar, they will go back to their respective countries to train, motivate and empower other to join the field it is time to change the narrative.
“I would like to appeal to the Honourable Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria to continue engaging other ministers from AUCS Region 2 countries to promote sports and youth agenda in our continent and provide practical guidance on the way forward on the implementation of the Assembly decisions on sports development and youth empowerment.”
Mr Caleb Gidado, GM, AUSC region 2.
In his address of welcome, the General Manager, Africa Union Sports Council, Region 2, Mr Caleb Gidado, said the essence of the seminar was to produce future leaders in sports.
“The quality of administrators, at whatever level of running sports, have direct bearing on the quality of results achieved. That is why the Africa Union Sports Council, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, of Nigeria, is spearheading this seminar to groom young sports administrators who will take-over the mantle of leadership in the sports sector in the nearest future.
“The Africa Union Sports Council has packaged this seminar to help us see ‘the winning Africa we all want’. An Africa that will produce athletes that will mount the podium at all international meets through the able leadership of these young ones we are grooming to day.
“Let me put it on record that we at the Africa Union Sports Council Region 2, are very grateful to the Africa Union Commission for choosing us to be the pacesetters in this drive.”
All the 15 member states of AUSC Region 2 which comprises West Africa sub-region are represented in the seminar. The four-day Young Leaders in Sports Seminar which commenced on Wednesday, 23rd October will be rounded off today in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.