The year 2022 has so much in store for Nigerian youths as it reflects high hopes that their passion, ingrained in sports, will be fulfilled. The evidence is concretised in a new partnership being put together by the capable duo of the Honourable Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare and the articulate Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa.
As the 2022 National Sports Festival is being contemplated, the devotion of those two helmsmen will see the emergence of a new paradigm whereby sports will cease to be a conventional activity but a lucrative venture for the youths, government and the people. I would like to draw inference from the scripture where it said that except two agree, they can never work together and that only the truth will set one free. The ‘agreement’ of these two sports enthusiasts will definitely turn things around for the better, for Nigerian sports.
A Sports Festival is designed to monitor and x-ray the ability of youths in sporting activities and at the same time, identify and groom talents that will not only represent the country globally but also be dependable assets. Sports is like any other sector and is loved by the majority of the populace. That is one of the reasons it is attractive to the political elites that have conditional love in their regard. It will be recalled that the Sports Festival was shredded in the hands of politicians without exhibiting matured and sound minds, from 2016 to 2018, when power tussle among the political parties could not allow the festival to hold in Calabar.
Happily, there is now a bright light at the end of the tunnel as sporting activities, mostly the Festival, now have a Road Map, courtesy of the Minister of Youth and Sports Dev. Sunday Dare and the Gov. of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa who have wisely put party politics aside to enable them succeed with a common goal, bearing in mind that they are the voice of the youths at management defence; and major stake holders seeing to their career progression.
Delta 2022 will be a big event. It is obvious that youths will add bright colours to Delta State as well as maintain peace, as through it, they are being made relevant. The State is alive with a vibrant business consciousness in preparation for the Sports Festival and with the hope of meeting standards set by their peers across the globe. The State Government will no doubt become very busy in preparation to host the large number of youths, sports veterans, stakeholders, government officials and many uninvited guests who will throng the State.
All the State workers, especially in the sport sector, will surely be challenged with creativities, team work and a wake to the clarion call to ensure the success of the Games. Towards this objective, Delta State no doubt, keeps the mind of her youths agile while giving them opportunities to actualise their dream for a better tomorrow. The State has been able to convert their energetic and youthful potentials to productive endeavours that will in no small measure make them responsible persons and give the State the accolades that it deserves.
Looking at the drivers of this new impetus, both the Sports Minister and Gov. Okowa cut a significant image in their appearance, neatness, depth of understanding and reasoning, hence better performance is expected from
them. Because of their respect for timeliness, they have put aside all questionable distractions to enable them commence early preparation.
Gov. Okowa has appreciated the love of his people towards his leadership and has responded by promising them the fulfilment of their desire of being paramountly relevant through sports. The love of sports by the citizens of the State is so much exemplified by activities of the Sports Ministry, of which the Honourable Commissioner, Mr Okowa is now the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
The Minister of the Sports, Sunday Dare, on his own part has been actively leading the sector with clear physical actions and maturity as befitting of a man with sound western education and ideology that can be imparted in the life of others, with a road map that could be historical. Mr Dare, should be commended for his humility to go to the home of one of his success stories. Nigerians appreciate your love for the youths and for making them a priority in your agenda.
Finally, the Sports Festival slated for November 2022 is a national responsibility that calls for vigorous and positive participation from the States more so as it involves youths who are the veritable leaders of tomorrow. All the political parties belong to Nigerians but Sports is significant because it has obvious advantages of youth age, energy and strength that are needed for the country’s global representation as well as potency for meeting the nation’s expectations.
Nwokorie is Press Officer with Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports development.