Determined to ensure that prospective sports men and women are able to reach the pinnacle of their respective disciplines, the Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, yesterday lend his support to the initiative that will enable corporate individuals to adopt a sport federation or individual athlete towards self development of sports in the country.
At the launch of of the adoption campaign held last night at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the Minister noted that sports sector has the biggest potential to catapult the country into the top 10 economies in the world, but its current struggles is the biggest challenges and arguably the lowest investments.
“It is written somewhere in scripture that ‘to him that is joined to the living, there is hope.’ And because we are alive, we will represent hope to those who need it the most. I thank you immensely that you are partnering with us to do that.
“The hope of the athlete is to be at the Olympics, or the World Championship for their sport; to stand on the podium, and fly their country’s flag. They want to be the reasons why Nigeria’s flag should be hoisted and the national anthem is sung while the world watches.
” This is their reward; but it is also our honour and prestige, and pride among nations. It is this hope that drives them to invest in themselves, to work hard, to endure all odds, and try to surmount every challenge.
“The Adoption Programme is our baby- all of us. By it, we hope to change the narrative about sports in Nigeria. While what we are doing here tonight has the feel of a pilot programme to it, we are hard at work to institutionalize frameworks that will ensure that individuals and corporate organizations get value whatever they put in sports.
“Along this line, I am glad to inform you that we are working with the NESG to revolutionise Nigeria’s Sports sector; an Inter-Ministerial Technical Meeting recently held in Abuja and the report from that exercise will eventually birth the Nigerian Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) draft,” he remarked.
To kick start the project the hoped that at least 25 number of athletes in 11 number of sports, among whom should be 2020 Tokyo Olympic hopefuls.
“It is our belief that we have partners here tonight who will adopt one, all or any number of the athletes and support them to win gold. By this, we hope we can give them the right pedestal to flourish, guarantees increased chances of success at the games,” he stated.
He also noted that most potential young men and women have their goals but the system over the years have cut short the dreams and aspirations but time as come for the nation to ensure that the determination must not die.
“Our actions, no matter how little, will assure them that their journey is not a solo performance, but a team work,” he noted.