*FG will give you all you need to succeed – Ankeli
*God will give you energy to change Nigeria with sports -Iwuanyanwu
By Oluwole Francis
Dr Mike Omotosho, the Chairman of the Nigeria ParaSports Development Fund, has promised to lead his team in a manner to beat the high expectations laid before him by the nation as Chief (Dr) Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc. (NSDFI) has challenged them to create 3million jobs and raise about N25billion this year to change the face of para sports in the country.
Dr Mike Omotosho said, “I need to thank the people who drove and delivered the project which is being inaugurated today: Nigeria Para Sports Development Fund. Undoubtedly, Chief (Dr.) Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu (MFR) has nurtured the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc. (NSDFI) since 1994 and has laid a solid foundation for us to build on.”
“The task ahead is not a small feat, fundraising especially in Nigeria is tough and this is also happening at a difficult time in our nation, however, we shall surpass expectations and accomplish our vision. The funds raised will be transparently used to develop leagues in para sports, create productive cooperatives for People With Disabilities (PWDs) and help them set sustainable vocational enterprises. For instance, we propose to have farm steads and agricultural extensions in every state of the federation, the harvest will be off-taken and value-added with processes that will create new levels of employment for people.”
My team and I are planting the seed that will make our nation become responsible to all its citizens so that no one is left behind.. We shall create social impacts that will bring wealth and economic independence to our people with higher abilities. Our objective is to showcase the amazing abilities that reside in our people with some form of disability and to make our nation consciously create an environment where they can thrive.”
“We will go beyond the shores of this country to mobilise funds. We shall also bring a new support structure to all athletes in Para sports. Let me assure you, by the time we deliver the structures that will translate our dreams into reality, our nation will never remain the same again.
Earlier, Dr Iwuanyanwu who gave the charge in his speech read by the General Manager, Mr Olajide Fashikun, which took place in the Federal Secretariat said, “it has been the dream of those of us who were saddled with the task to do the very first private sector fund raising with which we funded Nigeria’s qualification for the 1994 World Cup, to socially impact on our nation in a manner beyond words.
“Between the Nigeria Sports Development Fund and the Nigeria ParaSports Development Fund, you can deliver no less than N25billion in the next 12 months. You can create in excess of 3million jobs! Low, middle management and senior management jobs. So you can see the kind of load we are asking you to carry. The hopes of Nigerian children and youths lies in your hands.
“We have commenced with the first of the 36 Community Sports Development centres in Offa, Kwara State. By the time we deliver these complete, no less than one million children will be involved. The six National Sports Development centres and then, announce the 90 elite athletes we want to specially prepare from now for a minimum of 10 medals in Tokyo 2020, you will appreciate where we are going.
“Please, I need to beseech you, do the very best in this assignment. The children and youths in Nigeria seems to have lost hope in the nation. It is even worse with those living with disabilities. When you deliver your tasks, hope will be a thing of the past while they will realize the ability inherent in them. Sports industry in Nigeria is bigger than the oil industry if we marshal our resources well.”
“I do say something, no government anywhere in the world can spend the kind of monies in sports. As a nation, this is the time I think we want to prove that our size is an asset. For once, athletes who are Nigerians can look forward to being so proud. Imagine that we need about 18,704 coaches to deliver this projects.
“Dr Ankeli, you will have to work with us to get the Federal Government to create the enabling environment for us to deliver these tasks. One kobo of government fund we do not need. Let them facilitate the appropriate environment and in the next one year, they will ask, where have these people been?
In his speech, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability, Dr Samuel Ankeli said, “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.
“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.
“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.