Sports: We can make Nigeria best in Africa – Jonathan
From Sunday Ode, Abuja –
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday restated the commitment of his administration to making the country the best sporting nation in Africa.
Specifically, the president said he wanted the country to be among the first four in the Commonwealth, and.ultimately rule the world, adding that the ambition was achievable.
Jonathan, in an address at the presidential retreat on the sports sector held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja however, regretted that the financing channel of the sports sector was singular and unsustainable at the moment, while the investment channel for the sector was equally narrow.
Accordingly, he called for the broadening of the financing base of the sector and the creation of enabling environment for the private sector funding and investments.
He said: “Make no mistake: our commitment is to become the best sporting nation in Africa, be among the top four sporting nations in the Commonwealth and ultimately rule the world. This is not only realistic, it is also achievable with hard work, greater sense of purpose, and dedication.
“Without doubt, our sports industry has developed rapidly, with good prospects for sustained growth. We can only tap this latent potential through adequate investment and proper governance structure. Today, our financing channel for sports is singular, the investment channel is narrow, and the source is unsustainable.
“If we must achieve excellence and meet the objective requirements for the rapid development of our sports industry, then we must broaden the financing base of the industry and create the right conditions for private sector funding and investment in sport.”
President Jonathan, nevertheless, pointed out that while funding was crucial to the development of the sports sector, the issue of efficient and transparent management of resources was also of essence.
“Adequate funding of sports is very crucial to this endeavour but efficient and transparent management of resources is key,” he said.
Underscoring the role of sport in development, Jonathan noted that no nation could afford to overlook the relevance of sports to national development and national well-being.
He said: “As a powerful socio-economic tool for youth development, nation building and instilling core values of social justice, sports remains at the heart of national transformation agenda.
“There is no gainsaying that apart from its obvious benefits in bringing joy to our citizens, especially when our teams do well, no other sector of our national life has a great force for mobilizing and uniting our people around a common purpose, than sports.”
The president said the retreat was timely, given the recent disappointing performance of Team Nigeria at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as well as the recent lows in football competitions among others, noting that ”this unacceptable trend points to systemic failures that urgently call for a drastic and holistic review of our sport policies.”
Accordingly, he charged participants to come up with workable solutions to the most critical issues underpinning sports development in the nation.
“The medals table of the last few Olympics is a strong indicator that sports is now a major tool for demonstrating economic and social strength by countries. Sports must therefore remain a major element of our vision for national re-birth. It must constitute a driving force and indicator of our progress towards becoming one of the leading 20 economies of the world by the year 2020” Jonathan also pointed out.
Speaking earlier. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, charged participants to go beyond talkshop and come out with resolutions that could take the sector to next level.
In his own remarks, Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, who called for strong collaboration from the private sector also called on the National Assembly to hasten the process of passing the National Sports Commission bill into law to accelerate the transformation of the sports sector.
Powered by Facebook Comments