2019: Niger ‘ll take Sports to next level – SSG

As part of efforts geared towards encouraging Athletes via-a-vis re-engineering Sports architecture in Niger state, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Ladan spoke of plans to upgrade Sporting activities at the Power state when he visited Niger state contingent at towards the end of 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Abuja, Blueprint weekend Sports Crew was there.

Impression on Niger State performance

Yes, I’m highly impressed and the fact that they have been able to compete at this level and win some medals for the state. I am left with no option than to say we are highly impressed with their performance.

We realized we have to do a lot because sport is very important for Niger state and for the nation at large. We promise to encourage the youths in the area of sports and we also promised during our electioneering campaign to support every facet of sports to make sure our athletes can compete at the international level.

The fact that we are here today is a promise fulfilled and you can hear from their response you would see that this is the first time that they are having this kind of high powered delegation and definitely they are going to be encouraged.

Plans ahead

From now onwards, because we have reports from those managing them from the commissioner and his management team and we know if we had done certain things earlier and better, we would have done better and place ourselves on the medals table.  So our coming here is to interact with them like we did, earlier before then we interacted with dome of their officials and we have some of those things which we were supposed to do which we are not doing well which I want to assure you that from now onwards it won’t just be a day to coming for events that money is released, there is pre-events preparation, camping or athletes and buying of equipment that would allow them compete.

You know one thing with athletics is that even if you have the skill if you are not encouraged and have the right equipment you would not be able to compete with someone who has the right equipment. Mind you there are states where athletes train abroad because they are based there but they came to represent their states. so we want to have this situation in our states too.

You can imagine a situation where an international athlete is coming to represent a state competing with those athletes demands a lot of guts. Because they are well trained they are well equipped. Files come to my office as the secretary to government I may not appreciate some of those things in the file but when I come here to see things for myself not just waiting for the file to come I should be able to stimulate the process of allowing these things come so that we can go further.

NSF as eye opener

I want to assure you that this presence has opened my eyes to many things. Since 2003, I have not been to this stadium today I am here and the condition I met this stadium in 2003 for what we are seeing is really not good enough so my being here today has put me in a position to really advise government. Now the chief advisor of government I should be able to advise government that we need a lot and we have to do a lot these people are ready to compete but they are being militated by so many factors and those factors have been spelt here so I will be able in my report to advise the government appropriately.

Talents’ hunt measures

Tremendously, we’ve been able to do our best we brought back school competitions whereby we will be able to discover athletes from the grassroots that is from the primary school to the secondary school and to the higher institutions. I remember so many competitions have been held at the state level. For people to even come at this level to compete means a lot of encouragement has been given even though not sufficient. So it is good to start something. it is better late than never, so it is good we are starting and we are at this level. I want to assure you, you know we are going to the next level and that is the promise of the APC, so we are preparing a very good ground for next level that is what I can tell you.

Reward system

Like I told them, I listened to the media when one of the Governors was even promising the athletes before they won. in our own case, we would not be able to do that but what I told them is that anyone who wins a gold medal should be given a particular amount, we are not an oil producing state like the other states. We are an energy producing and you know what it is we are not getting much from the energy we produce because of the poor arrangement but then we are going to encourage them in such a way that they know that we are really giving them attention I want to assure you by the time they are received by the governor, the governor would be able to give those that one various categories of medals some particular package that will impress them and ginger the rest people.”

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