President Muhammadu Buhari has re-affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to sports development in the country.
The president made the remark while declaring open the 1st Session of the African Union Sports Council (Region 2) Minister’s Meeting yesterday, at the ECOWAS Parliament, Abuja.
He said that the purpose of the meeting affirmed the seriousness that African nations and other stakeholders attached to sports on the continent.
“I congratulate the African Union Commission for going the extra mile by giving adequate attention to sports development on our continent as evidenced by the recent restructuring within the African Sports Movement that gave birth to the African Union Council.
“My country Nigeria attaches great importance to sports, hence our acceptance to host this important meeting to provide the needed platform for our sub-region to hit the ground running through the formulation and implementation of ground breaking and insightful sports policies.
“In line with the overall objectives of the African Union, I urge you to broaden your deliberations to align sports with peace, security, education, health promotion, social mobilization, employment creation, socio-economic development, regional integration, conflict prevention and resolution. Our sub region tends to benefit a lot from such alignments .”
President Buhari promised to give the necessary support through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to enable the Council to accomplish the task of the newly created African Union Sports Council (Region 2) for overall success.
He also approved the engagement of few pioneer secretariat staff to facilitate the takeoff of AUSC Region 2 and pay them in line with Personnel Scheme of Service of the African Union Commission while diplomatic status will be accorded the Headquarters and secretariat staff of the AUSC Region 2.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, said that the West African Ministers of Sports meeting will redefine the much desired peace, regional integration, socio-cultural , political and economic development in the sub region through the instrumentality of sports.
“The ratification of all the legal instruments will make for rapid development of sports in the sub- region. Our strong desire is that the immediate impact of this new initiative will be felt during the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 2019 All Africa Games, the Francophone Games and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where athletes from the 15 West African countries will make the region proud by winning gold medals.”
The maiden session of the African Sports Ministers will ratify the legal instruments, setup strategic plans for the implementation of the region as well as the legal framework of the leadership that will man the secretariat. The document, when ratified, will also kickstart the full operation of the secretariat.
Also in attendance was the Senate President who was represented but the Chairman Senate Committee on Sports Senator Obinna Ogba, the Speaker House of Representatives who was represented by the Chairman House Committee on Sports Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and other sports stakeholders.