Kwara House of Assembly advocates sustainable template for funding sports
*Participation should not be driven by poverty, says Duke
The Kwara State House of Assembly has canvassed sustainable template and effective means of funding sport to ensure proper harnessing of abundant hidden talents across the state. This comes on the heel of a call by the Chairman, Cross River State Sports Commission, Otuekong Orok Duke for well-articulated programmes for talent discovery and development.
In Ilorin, the House made the call as part of its resolutions, following a Matter of General Public Importance raised by the House Leader, Hassan Oyeleke on the need for the state government to check exodus of sports talents to other states of the federation.
Reading the resolutions of the House, the Deputy Speaker, Chief Matthew Okedare, who presided over the Thursday's sitting, said the need became imperative in order to fast track sports development, which, he noted, was a unifying factor for all ethno-religious groups in the state, in particular, and the nation in general.
Besides, the Legislature called for sustainable reward mechanism for excellence, to check exodus of talented youths to other states of the federation.
Oyeleke had while raising the matter noted with displeasure that the state, endowed with abundant sporting talents, had to contend with poor funding and reward mechanism, which, he noted, had become bane of accelerated sports development in the state
In their contributions, members representing Oke Ogun and Gweria/Bani/ Adena Constituencies, Kamal Fagbemi and Suleiman Baziki, recalled the glorious sports men and women that had done the state proud in both national and international tournaments and blamed the state's dwindling fortunes in sports on poor funding, decayed sports infrastructure, fiscal indiscipline and called on all stakeholders to rise to the challenge of restoring the state's sports glorious days.
They noted that the task of funding sports was enormous for government alone to shoulder, and enjoined affluent individuals and corporate organisations to join hands with the state government in the task of revamping accelerated sports development in the state.
In Calabar, speaking at the maiden edition of the Sports Commission's Football Clinic at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar at the weekend, Duke said for years people went into sport because of poverty, adding it should not be so as sport was a universal game that brought people together while keeping the body and soul healthy.
"We should move away from the notion that poverty fires sports. This is something the government should step in and take over and not to allow sport in Nigeria to be driven by poverty," he added.
He regretted that in Cross River, "we do not have enough funds to run sport as in the last five years, we have not been able to attend any sports festival." He, however, assured that the state would be at the next youths sports festival in September in Ilorin "whether the state government sponsors or not. We will go out and solicit for funds."
On the football clinic that was kicked off by the member representing Calabar/Odukpani Federal Constituency, Mr. Ita Mbura, Duke said, "this event in the next five years will take place in Calabar… the young ones are ready to do sports but need to be encouraged"
He thanked Mbura, the member representing Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar South Federal Constituency, Pastor Essien Ayi, Royal farms and others for sponsoring the football clinic, saying it would encourage youths to take active part in sports and move away from social vices.
Both Mbora and Ayi said they decided to sponsor the football clinic as a way of giving back to the society and at the same time promote sports in the state for the collective benefit of everyone.
The clinic, which attracted over 250 children between the ages of six and 12, is 'expected to last for two weeks.