…as Shaibu gives marching orders to LGAs Laison Officers, and other stakeholders.
Edo State Government has enacted a law domesticating 37 sporting activities across the eighteen Local Government Areas of the State. The law also gives legal backing to the establishment of the Edo State Sports Commission.
The Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu disclosed this during a meeting with Local Government Council Laison Officers, Heads of Local Government Administration, HOLGAS and members of the Edo State Sports Commission at the Government House, Benin City.
According to him, the State Governor, Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, has mandated the Edo State Sports Commission to produce 10,000 athletes, cutting across all sporting activities in the next 5 years. He however said the state will prioritize 17 sports.
Shaibu remarked: “This is doable, looking at the size and number of various games we have in Edo State. We have about 37 sports, but we are emphasizing 17. This does not mean we are not going to be participating in the rest, but our attention will be focused more on the 17 major sports in which we can distinguish ourselves as the sports centre of excellence and Heartbeat of Nigeria”.
“We want to ensure that Edo remains the number one in all the 17 major sports and in achieving this, it requires the collaboration of the grassroots and leadership of the Local Government Councils”.
“The reason being that you cannot talk about the grassroots without the participation of the leadership of Local Governments, who are closer to the grassroots”.
“So, to achieve the target of harnessing the 10,000 athletes in Edo State who will be the feeder of other states in Nigeria requires joint efforts and collaboration”.
“Sports has become a veritable tool to generate revenue that increases a nation’s GDP, unlike a former Governor of Edo State, who believes that it’s a waste of resources investing in sports. This is why we’re making all efforts to ensure the private sector is encouraged to take over sports in Edo State”, Shaibu added.
In his remarks, the Chairman, of Edo State Sports Commission, Mr Yusuf Ali, noted that the Commission recently received commendations from FIFA’s representatives who were on an inspection tour of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
He added that the Commission was ready to collaborate with the leadership of Local Government Councils to achieve the State Government’s set target.
He said this will include setting up sports committees in the 18 council areas of the state made up of two members who shall be appointed by the leadership of the Local Government Councils, a member to represent the interest of the Local Government Education Authority, a member from the private sector, to represent the interest of companies operating in the council area and a member nominated by the Sports Commission who shall serve as the Secretary.
To underscore the urgency and importance government attaches to it, the various councils were given Tuesday, April 11, 2023, as the deadline to submit the names of their nominees.
“This will make our job of liaising with the grassroots very easy”, the Chairman added.
The Local Government Council Laison Officers, in their response, affirmed their unwavering support for the set target and collaboration with Edo Sports Commission.