*Our month of purification starts with the Nigeria ParaSports Development Fund
By Samuel Ankeli
Today being the 1st day of a new month February, this, in Gregorian mythology means the month of purification. This is, to me, not accidental. I believe there is a strong divine guidance to the choice of today for this inauguration. Towards the end
of last year when I started the battle with General Lonsdale Adeoye with the officials of Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI) why they must give us a platform to have the Nigeria Para-Sports Development Fund.
Quickly, let me thank the vision and leadership of Chief (Dr.) Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (MFR) for nurturing the NSDFI to this day. We need to thank him for approving us to have our own platform to privately raise the fund to make a special impact on our nation.
Let me congratulate the members of the Nigeria Para Sports Development Fund to be led by Dr. Mike Omotosho. You were carefully selected on merit to deliver a unique service and social impacting model for our nation. I can tell you with authority that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari is strongly with us in this drive.
From the conception and today to the inauguration, I had been having sleepless nights. As we were growing towards this
date, I had issues with who will drive the process. Dr. Mike Omotosho’s name came up from what he has been doing for Para-basketball in Kwara. Your intimidating credentials notwithstanding and your leadership of Rotary International and the annual lecture, the last one where the Ooni of Ife attended, are what we in the disability community will be enjoying.
Other members of the committee are Dr. (Mrs.) Joy Agi (mni), Pastor Gabriel Amawachi, Hajia Amina Ahmed, Chief Mary Onyali, General Lonsdale Adeoye and Prince David Ayuba (Secretary). Others are: a member of the Paralympic Committee of Nigeria, and NSDFI.
This is the first private sector initiative to muster funds to institutionalise both sports and agricultural development in the disability sector in Nigeria. This Governance Board shall have three-year tenure, It is not governmental, It is private. They shall mobilise and drive the developments but report back to the Board of Trustees of the NSDFI and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Before the end of this year, PWD’s shall enjoy a massive infrastructure in every state of the federation. We shall organise you into cooperatives and set up farm settlements for you. By the harvest time, your products shall be bought and value added to it. PWD’s shall become wealthy and employers of labour in this nation.
Five leagues shall be set up, funded and ran by League Management Committees as businesses. By the first anniversary of this Fund, I see no less than one million people directly affected and positively too. We shall be one of the biggest prides to this nation as we have demonstrated in the previous Paralympic games. We are branching to the economic sector.
Ladies and gentlemen, no nation on earth is supposed to be contesting greatness with Nigeria. Here, we are bonding together to provide leadership. With the members of the Nigeria Para-Sports Development Fund, heaven may not be a solid limit. I know we can. Yes, we can.
May I use this opportunity therefore to challenge PWD’s in Nigeria to own this project and join me to call on individuals, government, development partners and investors in Nigeria and beyond to make this vision a great fulfillment for all of us.
Please accept my very warm greetings. Once again, thanking you for accepting to serve our nation from this prism.
BEING SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR SAMUEL ANKELI, SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT ON DISABILITY MATTERS DURING THE INAUGURATION OF THE NIGERIA PARA SPORTS DEVELOPMENT FUND ON THE 2nd FEBRUARY 2017.