ACHIEVING NATIONAL UNITY AND DEVELOPMENT THROUGH SPORTS By Adekunle Oyedepo

Date: 2017-10-12

I can't agree less with Franz Beckenbauer, a former German football manager who opined that "football is one of the world's best means of communication. It is impartial, apolitical and universal. Football unites people around the world every day. Young or old, players or fans, rich or poor, the game makes everyone equal. Stirs the imagination, makes the people happy and makes them sad."

Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria on Saturday 7 October, became the first country on the continent to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World in Russia, as the Super Eagles defeated the Chipolopolo of Zambia by a goal to nil. The Godswill Akpabio International stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom was filled to the brim as Nigerians of diverse tribes, religions, and regions gathered to cheer and lift the Eagles' spirit.

Last Saturday was indeed a memorable day for Nigeria and Nigerians as we all put off our differences and revelled across Nigeria. From Uyo to Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Onitsha, Aba, Ilorin and in every other part of the country; the feeling was the same. Our love for our country is always high whenever our national teams engage in competitions.

This has again proven that sports, particularly football serves as a critical tool to unite people irrespective of their differences. There are over 400 spoken languages in Nigeria, but whenever the Super Eagles play, we all speak one language - football. Without doubt, sport has the ability to unite people, promote love, unity, national cohesion and development. Sport has the ability to influence or force people to put aside their differences and grievances for the sake of their nation.

It is, however, sad to note that despite the recognition of sport as a proponent of unification and catalyst for peace building, Nigerian government at all levels have failed to invest in sports development as a critical component of youth and national development. Among the challenges affecting sports development in Nigeria is the lack of adequate sporting centres and facilities in most parts of the country. There is therefore, a need for governments to promote sports development by building or renovating sporting facilities across the country and begin to organize age-group competitions to stimulate sporting culture among young people.

This will also provide an avenue for the youths to showcase and nurture their talents, with which they can empower themselves. Moreover, participation of young people in sporting activities enhances their wellbeing and healthy living, which is essential towards national productivity - a healthy nation is a productive nation.

We must as a country, begin to prioritise sports development by putting in place effective and structured sports policies and programmes that will assist youths develop their skills and talents. Corporate bodies are also encouraged to support the governments in doing this. Indeed, sports has a tremendous impact on peace building, national unity and youth empowerment that will ultimately transcend to national development.

I would like to end this piece with the words of Nobel Laureate, Oscar Arias (former president of Costa Rica), in his brilliant write up published on Forbes.com that reads, "Football, and sport in general, represents an opportunity to build a better version of a world too often threatened by irrationality, intolerance, and violence. Like any opportunity, it only counts if we take advantage of it. As spectators and parents, educators and leaders, we must train our eyes to see not only spectacular goals, but also acts of sportsmanship - to point out to each other, and to our children, not only athletic prowess, but also solidarity and diversity.

"We must use this platform to unite rather than to divide. And we must carry these lessons of peace far beyond the final whistle, in the hopes that someday, the world's game will no longer be a rare shooting star in a dark night of conflict, but part of the dawn of a more rational age."

Kind regards,

Adekunle Oyedepo

 


Cloud Tag: What's trending

Click on a word/phrase to read more about it.

HICA     Www.Kwarareports.com     Saadu Alanamu     Yoruba     Abdulwaheed Musa     Sa\'adu Gambari     Kwara State Television (KWTV)     Kwara State Football Association     Olushola Saraki     S.O. Opowoye     Abdulkarim Adisa     LAK Jimoh     Turaki     Sidikat Akaje     SDP     Ramat Oganija     Kwara Central     Oyedun Juliana Funke     Ohoro Of Shao     Arca Santa     Ayobami Akanbi     Micheal Imoudu     Sa\'adatu Modibbo-Kawu     Baaziki Sulaiman     Razaq Atunwa     GRA     Apaokagi     CACOVID     Dele Belgore     Kwara Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board     Bello Oyebanji     Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency     Jalala     Oladimeji Thompson     Gbenga Adebayo     Facemasks     Baakini     Salman Jawondo     Razak Atunwa     Al-Hikmah Radio     Adamu Attah     Sango-UITH Road     Oasis Muslim Care Foundation     Ayoade Akinnibosun     Olumide Daniel Ibitoye     Gbemisola Oguntimehin     Muslim Stakeholders Of Kwara State     Bola Iyabo Ibiyeye Adisa     Akume     A.G.F Abdulrasaq     Oba Abdulkadir La\'aro     2017 Budget     Alfa Modibbo Belgore     Bahago     Suleiman Idris     Unilorin     Ilesha-Gwanara     Kwara State Television     Kwarareports     JAMB     Nurudeen Mohammed     Yahya Mohammed     Abdulsalam Firdaous Amosa     George Innih     Share/Tsaragi     Amuda Bembe     Saidu Kawu     Yusuf Abdulkadir     Haruna Tambiri Mohammed     Abdulfatah Ahmed     Kunle Suleiman     Ibrahim Issa Jetti     Folorunsho Alao     Wahab Agbaje     Atunwa     Gwanara     Abdulazeez Arowona    

Cloud Tag: What's trending

Click on a word/phrase to read more about it.

Kwara     Afolayan     Tunde Akanbi     Ahman Pategi     Iyabo Adisa Ibiyeye     Smart School     Ibrahim Abdullahi     Hamidat Sulyman-Yusuf     James Kolo     Orire     Yakubu Danladi     Muftau Akanbi Oke     NSCIA     Fatima Abolore Jimoh     Alloy Chukwuemeka     Quran     Oba-Solagberu     Hydro-electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission     Sai Kayi     Onilupeju Of Ilupeju     Abdulrosheed Okiki     Taiwo Joseph     Unilorin     Shao     Labaeka     Garba Ayodele Wahab     Aisha Buhari     Centre For Community Empowerment And Poverty Eradication     Ishola Moses Abiodun     Ibrahim Oniye     Yaru     Yusuf Lawal     Oyin-Zubair     Babatunde Idiagbon     Prince Sunday Fagbemi     Hussein Oloyede     Olaitan Adefila     Okin Malt     Idiagbon     Temitope Ogunbanke     Curfew     Sola Saraki Educational Foundation     Yomi Adeboye     Abubakar Olusola Saraki     Akeem Lawal     Sanitation Exercise     Federal Allocation     Olofa Of Offa     Neuropsychiatric Hospital     Shehu Alimi Foundation For Peace And Development     Joseph Yemi Ajayi     Mutawalle     Yusuf A. Usman     Guber Aspirant     Omotoso Musa     Nigerian Army     Kwara Pdp     Taofik Abdulkareem Babaita     Roseline Oni Aremu     Hijaab     Al-Adaby     Wasiu Odewale     Kwara Hotel     Elekoyangan     Ilorin Like-Minds     Aliyu Umar     Kwara State Coalition Of Business And Professional Associations     Revenue Court     Sanusi Abubakar     Onikijipa     Lanwa     Adisa Logun     Alliance For Democracy     Dele Momodu     Unilorin FM     SSA Youth     Sa\'adatu Modibbo-Kawu