The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Sunday in Calabar charged State Commissioners of Sports to get their various state governors to invest in sports development.
“Any government which fails to invest in the development of sports and facilities will harvest crime,” the minister was quoted as saying in a press statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Nneka Ikem-Anibeze.
It quoted Dalung as also saying governments spend so much money on security and other issues but failed to realise that investment in sports was the best.
“If they invest in sports, a lot of other problems would have been taken care of.
“Governments in Nigeria must redirect their efforts toward sports development.
“I am using this opportunity to call on all state governments in Nigeria to make sports their priority,” Dalung said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister made the speech while delivering his opening address at the Extra Ordinary Meeting of the National Council on Sports (NCS).
The meeting was held in Calabar, Cross River where it was decided that the National Sports Festival (NSF) would tentatively hold in Calabar from Nov. 8 to Nov. 21.
Dalung had urged the Council at its Technical Session to give Cross River the opportunity to host the NSF which has been postponed twice since 2014.
He however warned that where Cross River was unable to host the Festival in November, a back-up plan must be put in place to avoid another postponement.
“You will recall that Cross River could not host the festival due to the transition period which halted many projects in the run up to the general elections last year.
“This year, you (Cross River) will have no reason not to host the games. The influx of tourists and the benefits of hosting games of this magnitude cannot be over-emphasised.
“I urge you to do all within your power to ensure that this festival does not suffer another postponement. We will support you in the necessary areas,” the minister assured.
Responding, the state governor, Ben Ayade, who was represented by the Commissioner of Sports, Asu Okang, had restated the state’s commitment and readiness to host the festival.
“Having gone round on an inspection tour of facilities, you can see that we are almost ready to host the festival.
“We have the best hospitality in the country, our swimming pool is the best in Nigeria and we are looking forward to hosting the best sports festival ever,” he said.
The technical session which had the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths and Sports, Chinyeaka Ohaa, as Chairman also made some resolutions.
It resolved that the NSF will be open to athletes of all ages and all Nigerians domiciled in Nigeria.
The session also stipulated that each athlete and official would be expected to pay the sum of N12,500 to participate.
It further agreed that states which placed first to third on the final medals table shall benefit from sports infrastructural development and/or equipment.
These shall be built and provided before the next edition of the festival.
The Council was also invited to approve the introduction of an NSF for people with hearing impairment (deaf sports).