Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ministry signs N35 billion MoU with firm for sports development

Mr Enoh said that the partnership would help to inject funding into sports development from the private sector.

• April 19, 2024
Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan-Enoh
Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan-Enoh[Credit: Leadership News]

The federal ministry of sports development and Yanga Games, on Friday in Lagos, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to generate N35 billion in four years for sports development.

Speaking at the event, the minister of sports development, John Enoh, said that the partnership was aimed at achieving the ministry’s seven-point agenda.

Mr Enoh said that the partnership would help to inject funding into sports development from the private sector.

“We are here today to celebrate a private sector key into the opportunity provided by sports to contribute to nation-building.

“Investment in sports is huge, so the government alone can’t do it; we are calling on other cooperate bodies to join us in developing our sports just as Yanga games are doing now.

“Under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the country has adopted sports as a tool for national development.

“Sports gives  Nigeria global recognition and attention.

“So, the partnership with Yanga Games is an opportunity for corporate bodies to contribute to sports development in the country,” he said.

The minister said that the President gave various segments of the country the opportunity to contribute toward the growth and development of the country.

“My duty is to promote leadership toward ensuring sports development in the country.

“These are in areas of athletes welfare which is my top priority.

“Infrastructure development is also key in my agenda toward sports development, most of the country’s sports facilities are decayed and need upgrading or total rebuild.

“We really have huge issues of decaying sports infrastructure that need urgent attention.

“We also want to activate some of our past sporting events that helped us discovered talents at the grassroots.

“Restructuring of sports federation is also very important to us if we must get it right in the sports sector,” he said.

The executive chairman of Yanga Games, Derrick Kentebe, said that the target was to generate N35 billion in four years through lottery, jackpot and raffle draws.

“I’m delighted to be part of this epoch-making event that will herald a new dawn for sports in our great country.

“Over the years, there were lots of initiatives that should have laid a solid foundation for our sports, but they were truncated by systemic failure, lack of political willpower, and policy summersault.

“We intend to turn past errors into experiences that will shape the future.

“Like the minister, my team and I believe that this project will stand the test of time as it has gone through many stages of scrutiny by experts and critical stakeholders, who will help midwife the initiative,” he said.

Mr Kentebe said that sports, more than any other human endeavour, has earned Nigeria global attention.

“In football, basketball, track and field, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, and other events, Nigeria has produced world champions.

“From the days of Empire Games to our great exploits at the Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games, Nations Cup, World Cup and worldwide events, Nigeria has proven that she is a force to reckon with in showcasing great talents.

“Despite initial hopes of a greater tomorrow, the progress of our sports had been hampered by too many challenges such as funding, lack of enabling environment for athletes to thrive, bad policy implementation, and others.

“We cannot continue to lament past errors that dragged us down, but we are resolved to forge a new direction that will lead us to genuine development of our sports,” he said.

The chairman of Yanga Games said that the company is inclined and motivated by the renewed interest of President Tinubu, driven by the sports ministry to make Nigeria’s sports sector dynamic, professional and profitable.

He said that the concept of collaboration is to use sports as a vehicle for development, growth, mobilisation, social engineering, employment opportunities, and the empowerment of the youth.

“This noble idea will restore confidence in our sports and encourage private sector investment and partnership. This will not be possible without removing barriers and changing attitudes,” he said.

He, however, called on the federal government to continue to support companies that invest in sports development through tax rebate and other institutional encouragements.

(NAN)

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