The Minister of Youth & Sport Development, Solomon Dalung, has called on state governments to invest in youth and sports development.
Dalung, who made the call when he paid a courtesy visit on the governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, at the Government House, in Ilorin, thanked the governor for investing in the National Youth Games through the provision of accommodation for the athletes and officials, facilities and funds.
“Kwara State will be remembered when the history of modern sports development in Nigeria is written, because of the role the state government has played in providing accommodation and other logistics, including financial support for the games.
“The panacea to all related development problems is to re-direct energy to investment in sports. States will forget about spending on security, because those who would naturally have created security problems for you will be dutifully engaged. There will also be much for the economy, because there will be so many commercial activities involving so many people and sports will drive tourism.
“If sports is the only unifying factor across this nation, why do waste so much money holding seminars and conferences, instead of investing in sports? We will need your support to re-draw the architecture of sports and reposition the image of Nigeria within the comity of nations. We are determined, committed and willing to serve our country selflessly,” Dalung urged.
In his response, Governor Abdulfatah said that sports development was one of the best things that any country could truly use as an instrument to drive the development of her young people.
“This is why developed nations truly use sporting activities as a major criteria to move their youths to higher levels. We have left sports to be taken to the background and we have seen the negative impact of not taking sports development to the right levels. We must bring back schools sports and see sports as a veritable tool for driving a good Nigeria,” the governor said.
The week-long National Youth Games was declared open on Saturday by the Youth and Sports minister.
The games would see 21 states and the FCT take part in 13 sports and two demonstration events, namely rowing and roller-skating.