FRI, 9 SEPTEMBER 2016-Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has advocated long term planning and private sector funding as panacea to the dwindling fortunes of sports in the country.
Speaking yesterday Thursday when he received the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Hon. Solomon Dalung and his team on a courtesy and advocacy visit in Asaba, Governor Okowa stated that Nigeria failed to perform well in the last Rio Olympics because there was no consistency in the country’s preparation for the competition, observing that for a very long time the country has depended on the public purse which has contracted in recent times thereby impacting negatively on sports development in the country.
He opined that the country needed to partner with the private sector in sports funding and development.
“Just as we are finding ways to diversify our economy, it is time for us to begin to look beyond the public sector in trying to rejuvenate and create a better impact in sports development, the governor said, adding ” we must critically involve the private sector in funding sports development in Nigeria”.
While calling sports administrators to place emphasis on sports development and ensure long term planning in preparations for forthcoming championships, Senator Okowa said “people look at the competition itself with the aim of winning while the real motive of development of sports is lost, We must identify areas were we have comparative advantage and focus on those areas instead of being jack of all trades and master of none.”
Dr Okowa disclosed that his administration was committed to sports development because sports is a veritable tool for peace building, noting that with active participation in sporting activities, the youths would be positively engaged.
“We have it as a policy that we don’t buy athletes from other states rather we groom our own talents because that is one of the ways we can encourage genuine development of sports,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Sports, Hon. Solomon Dalung commended Governor Okowa for his support and contributions towards sports development in the country, explaining that he was in the state to seek Governor Okowa’s support for the upcoming Under-17 National Youth Games.