*At the national launch of Lets’ go, Girls! project
President of the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), Dr Gloria Laraba Shoda, has advocated for maximum support for every girl that decides to go into sports as a right not as a privilege.
The former Women Premier football League club owner said, “if 85% of the medals the nation has won in international championships since 1954 to date are from the women folk, that tells a story. It is that that population deserves a special place and a deliberate process to make them do better.”
Mrs Shoda while launching the ‘Let’s go, Girls!’ project in Abuja which her organisation is partnering the Basic Olive Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST)’s five female icons designed for women athletes in the country.
Mrs Shoda singled out the five amazons: Chief Mary Onyali, Mrs Chioma Ajunwa-Opara, Mrs Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin, Mrs Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Funke Oshonaike “for your great vision to support the woman athlete. We can’t thank you enough. Thank you for making our nation better than you met it.”
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, five-time Olympian, Chief Mary Onyali said, “our ambition is to see that between now and 2021, we want to bring one million girls into sports in the 36 community sports centres and the six national sports development centres. We shall support them, help them to be better than the five of us and make them to be global leaders in their various rights.”
“It is sad but true that every female athlete had suffered some level of degradation in the bid to raise the funds with which we want to take our families out of the poverty circle. Ironically, most of us have come out from very poor family background before sports lifted us up into fame and success.”
She extended warmest appreciation to Dr (Mrs) Gloria Shoda for “accepting us when we took her project to her. She did not hesitate for one second when she said she will lead our campaign as a priority of the NCWS. With this global launch for the project, it is obvious that the girl athlete is in for greater opportunities.”
Former minister and Plateau State gubernatorial candidate, Mrs Paullen Tallen, told www.gongnews.net “I am sincerely speaking, so glad that these former international sports brands came together to push for new generation of super stars from our communities without waiting for the government.”
“I am so glad and elevated that their next centre is actually Plateau State where they want to start a middle and long distance programme and a league in another one year. Hope has come for girls and women of my state. It gladdens my heart.”
There were more than 3,000 women from all states of the federation that attended the launch which was one of the events to mark the one-year activities of the election of Dr Shoda in office.
Bank of Industry (BOI) also at the occasion also gave out support loans to about 1,000 women who received their documents and certificates.
Mrs Grace Ogedengbe who is the President of ‘Girls Ain’t Cheap’ (GAC) initiative quipped, “this is a wonderful idea. Women who have made name and are already made returning to lift girls from zero to heroine. I am glad I am a part of this launch today. Wow! There is hope in our nation and tomorrow for girls and women with this initiative.”
Also, the President of NCWS in Kwara State, Hajia Barakat Atunse, attested to the pilot of the BOOST project in Offa. She said, “since the pilot is in our state, we should also enjoy the privilege to have the ‘Let’ go, Girls!’ which will help the vision of our governor, a keen sports person and promoter of girl education.
Mrs Atunse thanked Mrs Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin for bringing the project to Offa saying, other communities in the state are feverishly looking for the replication of the Offa model in their different communities.
Mr Moses Obisesan of Stratech Roses in his comments said, “if the people of the nation appreciate the great content of the project, no one will not rise to support the successful implementation of the initiative. No wonder the National President of the NCWS gave it a shoulder to get it delivered in all states of the federation.”
He added that, “the one year anniversary of the giant strides of Mrs Shoda could not have been better celebrated with this vision meant to bring one million girls into sports. This is also given that the sports economy alone is enough to create more than 3million jobs for people of the nation.