Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
In a bid to improve funding for Rangers Football Club of Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has said that a bill seeking not only to ensure adequate funding of the club but generally improve sporting activities in the state would soon be sent to the House of Assembly.
The proposed bill is also aimed at liberalising the ownership of the club in a manner that interested members of the public could easily become co-owners of the football club.
The governor who spoke while unveiling the insignia of the state’s sports festival during a sports summit in Enugu recently.
“Very soon, a bill will go to the Enugu State House of Assembly for funding of sports.
“This bill will provide platform for all of us to own Rangers International. Rangers belongs to us”, he declared drawing ovation from the gathering as he shouted “up Rangers, never say die”.
He said his administration had resolved to restore sports and make the state a breeding ground for talent hunt and sports tourism centre.
The governor told his audience that sports would afford the people a tremendous opportunity in the areas of economic growth, empowerment, employment generation, poverty alleviation as well as progressive youths and social development.
He described sports as gold mine like some other sectors of the economy and regretted that it had remained largely untapped in the country for the peoples’ over dependent on easy money from the oil boom era.
He noted that the investment of the state in sports is yielding positive results considering the achievements of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu which is once again becoming the toast of Nigerian football and now ready to begin to win laurels again.
Governor Ugwuanyi explained that government had made efforts to inculcate sports awareness among school children, stressing that the summit and the sports festival scheduled to take place shortly would generate fresh idea on how best to develop the sector and produce talented sports men and women capable of winning laurels for the state.
He stated that the theme of the festival, “discover, develop and celebrate sports”, was apt and essentially captured the mood of the moment and action and commended the organizers of the summit and other partners for a job well done.
In his remarks, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, commended the governor for the initiative, saying that “this is a digital thinking on the part of the governor of Enugu State to initiate this kind of bill for the funding of a football club.
“Your Excellency, what you have done that attracted me is the bill you are sending to the House to give future to Rangers, to give future to so many hopeless people. It is a bill that will reward you. Rangers is one of the biggest and best brands we have in this country.
“When passed into law, this will enhance sports development in the state and make Rangers Football Club the richest clubside in the country”, said the NFF chairman who addressed the gathering of sports lovers and government officials present during the sports summit.
Earlier, the Enugu State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Charles Chuka Ndukwe, said that the summit was organised with a view to hunting for young talented persons for the purpose of packaging and developing them for future sports activities in the state.
He commended Governor Ugwuanyi for his love in sports which necessitated the current achievement of Rangers and other athletes and urged the people to partner with government to improve sports in the country.
In a goodwill message, the Chairman, Anambra State Football Association. Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah represented by Mr. Fanny Amun, pointed out that with sports, some of the social and criminal vices in the society could be reduced and eliminated.
He enjoined the youths to showcase their talents and win laurels for themselves, their states and their country.