Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has called for greater involvement of the private sector, public spirited individuals and communities in the development of sports, especially exploring local talents for national and global competitions.
This, he said would enable the country to benefit immensely not only from sports’ character development but also from its contribution to the overall socio-economic development of the states and the nation at large.
A statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, on Friday said Dr Fayemi, made the call in Ado Ekiti when he announced cash reward for outstanding athletes at the National Sports Festival in Edo State and the gold medalist who represented Nigeria at the just concluded Under 20 Athletics Championship in Kenya.
Governor Fayemi said his administration had set in motion necessary legal framework and policies that would enable private individuals play active role in the development of sports in the State.
Commending the sports men and women and their officials for doing the state proud, Dr Fayemi challenged them to be more resolute to do better in future competitions in order to sustain the exploits and success stories they have demonstrated in the various competitions.
According to him, “Sports will not succeed in our country if it is not taken up at the subnational level. You don’t make sports exemplar in the national capital, it is what you do in Ekiti, Ondo Delta, Rivers and the length and breadth of the country that will yield the dividends and turn our sports development to what it ought to be. That is why we have to do more in developing school sports, in molding talents from our various community and ensuring that we supports development to the best of our abilities.
“On our part, we will keep improving the quality of sports development, it is not the matter for government alone, private sectors, public spirited individuals, communities, all of us must rally together in order to develop sports.
“And we are doing a lot of things in this regard including the laws that we put in place, including our lottery commission and the benefits that we will derive from the lottery commission in the development of sports in the state.
“To all of you who have contributed to returning Ekiti to its place of pride in sport, I commend you and celebrate you, this is heartwarming.”
At the event, Governor Fayemi announced as reward, a sum of N300,000 for each gold medalist; N250,000 for silver medalists and N200,000 for each bronze medalist. The Coaches were given monetary reward.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon Michael Awopetu, commended Dr Fayemi for demonstrating commitment to sports development by signing to law the Ekiti Sports development funds to develop sports in the state.
Hon Awopetu who highlighted various achievement of Fayemi led administration in sports sector, attributed strong political will to supporting sports activities to the feats the sector had recorded in recent times.