The Chairman, Senate Committee on Youth and Sports Development, Distinguished Senator Obinna Ogba, has pledged to support the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to achieve its mandate in national development.
Senator Ogba said that the committee members are not in the senate to checkmate the ministry, but to rub minds to ensure the best is done for the interest of our Nigerian youth and sports development.
Senator Obinna Ogba made this remark during the Budget Defence of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development by the Minister, Hon. Sunday Dare, ably supported by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola and Director Generals of the four Parastatal of the Ministry at the NASS Complex, Abuja.
Continuing, the Chairman reiterated that the committee will strive to assist the Ministry to ensure that it’s budget receives positive consideration at the Appropriation Committee level.
A member of the committee, Senator Ifeanyi Uba praised the Minister for moving his office to stadium, stressing, Hon. Sunday Dare is pragmatic and committed to the cause of developing sports, and by extension empowering youths . The Senator representing Anambra South said that very soon he will propose Nigeria Football Development Bill to generate N30 – 40 million annually if signed.
Senator Francis Adenigba, also a member of the committee, noted that Nigerians are more interested in foreign clubs, thereby abandoning our local clubs, making our stadia empty. He called on the Ministry to improve on our local games to generate funds for the nation, adding, the Senate Committee is poised to support the ministry achieve it’s aims of repositioning our sports.
Furthermore, Senator Elisha Abbo, also a member of the committee, in his remarks, enjoined the ministry to make deliberate and conscious efforts towards grassroot sports development through the creation of Sports Academy in the country. On youth employment and wealth creation, Senators urged the Ministry to key into different social intervention programs of government to access funds that will benefit and enhance entrepreneurship culture for our unemployed youths.
Responding to these observations and commentaries, Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare, opined that the Ministry is in the process of returning the Headmaster’s Cup tournament that will involve 58,000 primary schools across the country in terms of grassroot sports development.
According to Hon. Dare, the Ministry must bring in private funding, and has started a process of engaging notable individuals to help build new football pitches in MKO Abiola ( in Abuja) and Lagos National stadia. These private individuals and corporate organisations will be engaged in the adoption of pitches, sports centers and athletes, and sponsoring them.
“We have 45 football pitches across the nation, apart from Uyo stadium, none is of international standard” he added.
Commenting on the bane of our sports development, the Minister said that our sports lacks content that will make it attractive to Investors, and unless we make sports attractive, we may not attain the milestones experience of what other great sporting countries are noted for.
He also confirmed that : “The ministry is already putting strategy in place to hold a Sports Business Summit to bring about the synergy of a Public Private Partnership to generate funds” .