From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The President of International Olympics Committee (IOC) Dr Thomas Bach has expressed delight that the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja is now coming back to use after many years of neglect.
He similarly commended the Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare on the commissioning of the Association of National Olympics Committee Africa (ANOCA) Secretariat in Abuja, after 10 years of its foundation laying.
Bach undertook a tour of the main bowl, the velodrome and the swimming pool at MKO Abiola Stadium, before he commissioned the ANOCA Secretariat as part of activities marking his visit to Nigeria.
Dare described the commissioning of ANOCA secretariat as a landmark achievement in the development of sports in the country and the continent, adding Nigerians were proud to be a major contributor to the actualisation of the occasion.
Dare said it was as result of the commitment attached to the ANOCA secretariat that informed the funding of the project from inception 13 years to its completion by the federal government.
“The event of today is a landmark in the development of sports on the continent of Africa. It is a day that the entire black race should be proud of. And as Nigerians, we are proud.
“Aside the obvious fact of the building would from today be the administrative and technical hub of sports administration on the continent, we also have in our midst, the leaders of the world governing body for sports, ably led by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Thomas Bach,” Dare said.
In his remarks, Bach said Nigeria had rewritten history as the capital of Sports in Africa. He said he was honoured to share the historic moment together with the entire Olympics family in Africa.
He described the ANOCA secretariat as an inspiration and a motivation for the unity of sports in Africa, adding it would unite in the effort to support Nigerian athletes for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
“You are writing sports history. With the inauguration of this magnificent headquarters here, you are establishing Abuja as the capital of sports in Africa. You are setting a milestone for the development of sports all over Africa. You are also creating perfect conditions to work better for the youth and the athletes from your young and potential continent of Africa.”