Minister of Sports Development, John Enoh has stated that his administration will pursue a two-fold focus, as part of the plans to reposition sports in the country.
Speaking to stakeholders in Lagos, Enoh said the two-fold focus rests on sports development and sports for development as a way of harnessing the potential of sports for Nigeria.
He explained that the first prong of sports development will take grassroots development as a special sub-focus where the country will focus on providing a platform for budding and raw talents to be unearthed for refinement.
Enoh said, “Grassroots development will focus on the extent to which as a ministry and a country, we can provide the infrastructure and amenities at the grassroots level, where our talents are located.”
“We have untapped talents in our local areas, individuals that do not have the opportunity to showcase themselves. We must provide pitches, and courts that will expose these talents in areas that are neglected.”
“We don’t want to just say it, but we want to take practical steps, that at the end of my tenure, we have measurable impacts of our work”, he added.
Expatiating further he said grassroots development also entails establishing and running leagues across different sports at the youth level. School sports and underaged competitions are important to this plan.
Furthermore, he said, “We must also provide a transition plan for our discovered talents to move from the youth level to the elite level.”
Second Focus: Sports for Development
Senator John Enoh said sports should not be developed just for the sake of it, but the concern should also extend to ensuring sports contribute to the nation’s economic development.
“The National Bureau of Statistics has no place for sports as a contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). One of the things I will do is engage with the NBS to evaluate some of the factors that are considered in identifying a sector as a contributor to national GDP. And these things will be pursued.”
“The National Sports Industry Policy which I met focuses on treating sports as a business. This is one of the things we will pursue. We will pursue to see how we can tap sports contributions to national unity and national integration. No sector showcases our national colours (green and white) as much as sports do,” he added.
“In my experience of watching Tennis, a guy like Novak Djokovic has placed Serbia on the world map by his appearances at every grand slam. This is something we can emulate and do in our country.”
He charged the media to support his plans and play a key role in sports development. He called for fair reportage and a sense of patriotism to be placed above anything else