by crossriverwatch admin
Senator Liyel Imoke, the Cross River State governor Wednesday in the state capital Calabar declared that passion and doggedness have been the state’s driving forces in developing sports despite mounting challenges such as lack of funds, infrastructure and equipment.
Senator Imoke stated this while declaring open the 4th Cross River State Primary/Secondary School Athletics and Swimming Championship in Calabar. “We have been dogged in building sports even when some people do not share our vision and on the face of mounting challenges such as lack of infrastructure and lack of funds”.
The governor said he grew up in an environment where sports competition at the primary and secondary school was considered an essential part of child development but over the years this culture has died and it is on this score that it became imperative that the state should revive the culture to inculcate in the children self confidence, sportsmanship and also help them build a rewarding future.
“Since after the exit of the likes of Mary Onyali, Chidi Imoh and Egbunike, Nigeria has not featured prominently in the international sports scene and these people did it at a time the population of Nigeria was less than a hundred million but now that our population is increasing and we are over one hundred and sixty million we seem to be nowhere in athletics”.
He said it is common to see Nigerians competing for countries like Slovenia and Czechoslovakia and win laurels for such countries but such persons are not willing to compete for Nigeria because they are hardly celebrated.
“Most counties take great pride in their athletes and sports champions. They celebrate and honour them but in Nigeria we don’t seem to care too much about such things and that is what we are working hard to change in our state”.
The governor said the lack of the culture of celebrating sports men and women is not due to poverty but failure to take up such responsibility with commitment and pride as done in other countries. “I don’t think Nigeria is poorer now than it was in the days when we were giving our children much attention in sports and development of the mind”.
Reeling out the strides Cross River has achieved in the last four years when the state started its comprehensive Sports Development Project, Imoke said the state occupied the 17th position four years ago during the National Schools Sports Championship “And in that competition, only twenty states participated not all the thirty six states and we came 17th but three years ago we came sixth and in the past two years we have been the number one”.
The Comprehensive Sports Development program, the governor said has not only developed the sporting talents of the children but their minds also which he said is the biggest investment any people could have done in the young ones.
“Investment in our youths is far greater than investment in infrastructure and no investment surpasses that of the mind and that is what we have been committed to doing through the Comprehensive Sports Development program in the state”.
Mr. Patrick Ugbe the Cross River State Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development said the state has seen the dividends of sports investment with its harvest of gold medals during the National Schools Sports Festival.
He said the vibrant sporting environment cultivated in the State has taken the minds of the youths from crime into sporting competitions and other useful ventures.
Adding that the State has maintained the pace in its winning feat in National Schools Competition and in Port Harcourt in 2012, the state won a total of over 264 medals which placed it 1st for two consecutive years.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.