Enugu Govt tasks Council on Sports on inclusive policies for devp

Maiden edition of the National Council on Sports(first Council meeting as federal ministry of sports development) has opened in Enugu with a call on sports  stakeholders  to come up with   policies  that are inclusive, such that create equal opportunities for all for sports development.

The stakeholders were also urged  to engage in open , constructive  and  forward- thinking  discussions  and leverage their collective expertise  to address the challenges facing the sports sector and explore innovative solutions  that  will propel  them to greater heights. 

Deputy Governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ossai made the call on Monday, May 20,  in his address presented at  the opening of a 3-Day meeting holding  at the old Government lodge,G.R.A, Enugu.

Pix- Commissioner for Youths and Sports,Lyold Ekweremadu

Represented by the  Enugu state Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Lyold Ekweremadu,  Ossai  drew the attention of the council to key areas such as infrastructure development , athletes’ welfare, funding mechanism, coaching  standards and grassroot sports programs, which he said,  require their utmost attention and concerted efforts.

Pix- From L-R :Correspondents Chapel , ,NUJ Enugu chairman, Law Njoku, and members, Okechukwu, Damian and Chukwumerije Ajah

He tasked the Council on inclusiveness saying , “We must ensure that our policies are inclusive, providing equal opportunities for all , regardless of gender, background, or ability. Let us strive to create an environment where every young person can dream, excel and achieve greatness through sports,”he said.

Pix- Perm. Sec. Federal ministry of Sports,Mrs Tinuke Watti

The Deputy Governor expressed the confidence  that with the wealth of knowledge, experience and passion , the council members  can tackle the challenges ahead and forge a path that elevates Nigerian sports to new heights 

Going down the memory lane, Ossai said, ” Enugu state has a rich history of fostering talent and promoting sportsmanship. Our state has produced notable athletes who have brought pride to Nigeria on international stages. It is for this reason that we understand the transformative power of sports. It is not  just a tool for physical  fitness and entertainment power of sports .

Pix- Secretary -Generals and other Council stakeholders

Sports  have  always played a pivotal role in the unity and development of our nation. It serves as a catalyst for social cohesion , economic development and youth empowerment. 

“Hosting this National Council  on Sports meeting is a testament to our unwavering  commitment to the development of sports at all levels. It is our belief that through strategic investment  community engagement and robust policy frameworks, we can nurture the next generation of Nigerian sports stars,”Ossai said.

Pix- Veteran Sports writer and PRO Nigeria Olympic Committee,Tony Nezianya

To the participants he said,’ Your  discussions , decisions and collaborations in this forum will lay the ground work for transformative policies and innovative programs that will impact our youth, our communities and our nation’s standing  in the  global sports arena.”

Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary ,Federal ministry of Sports Development, Mrs Tinuke Watti said the Theme of this year’s meeting , “Sports for National Unity and Socio- Economic Growth” , was apt, She noted that sports  transcend the barriers of language, ethnicity and religion, uniting the people under tbe common banner of competition, achievement amd collective pride. From every corner of our country ,from the cities to the towns and villages, sports bring us together, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose.

Pix- From L-R – Chairman Correspondents Chapel,NUJ,Enugu, Law Njoku and chapel members, Damian(Middle) and ,Chimereije(Right)

“Through sports, we learn the values of teamwork, respect and perseverance. 

She observed  that national unity is a critical goal for any nation, especially one as Nigeria, noting that” in a world that often emphasized our diversity and find strength in our unity Through sports, we learn the values that build strong communities and a resilient nation.”

Watti emphasized that sports have significant  potential for Socio- economic  growth. “Sports are not just games , they are  a major  industry  with the capacity to generate employment, drive economic development and improve  public health. Investments in sports infrastructure and programmes can help boost the economy of our nation.

“Pix- Participants

“Sports, when rightly positioned, will help to take the youth off crime as successful athletes serve as role models, inspiring younger generations to aspire to greatness and engage in productive activities.” she said.

The Permanent secretary opined that  to harness these benefits , it  is imperative that a holistic and inclusive approach  to sport development should be adopted  “This includes fostering partnerships between the government , private sector, and international  bodies. It means ensuring that our policies  are geared towards inclusivity, providing opportunities for all  regardless of gender, age, or socio-economic background. It also involves leveraging technology and innovation to enhance  training, performance and fan engagement,” she said 

Pix- Sports stakeholders

Watti expressed  the hope that the Council will come up with “policies that  would  serve  as guide for  better  and improved  decisions in the sports  sector in Nigeria  and work out  tbe strategies to achieve  deliverables as set out  for the sector in presidential  priorities 

She thanked Enugu state Governor,Dr. Peter Mbah, the Local Organizing Committee and all those who supported the organization of the conference.

Pix- Tony Nezianya, PRO, NOC,

A participant and the Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Tony Nezianya, said they hold the Council on Sports meeting annually to articulate national policies in relation to sports development. He said  the 2024 meeting was the first meeting of the council since the federal ministry of sports development  became a stand alone ministry 

According to him, the council discuss issues on how sports could be used in national development. The council on sports comprises, National Council on youth Sports development, national sports council of various states, Nigeria Olympic  Committee, Nigeria Football federation, Women in Sports, Nigeria  schools  sports federation,  ministry of education,  and other  affiliate groups  in sports development .

.The conference  which started on Monday, May 20 will end on Wednesday,May 22nd.

Author: Maureen Ikpeama

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