Sports industry in Nigeria is bigger than the oil industry – Iwuanyanwu
*Government should give us enabling environment and see what we can do
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.
We embarked on a restructure and part of the gains is where we are today. The NSDFI is centrally positioned to be the change-agent to make our nation the greatest in the world.
First let me thank Dr Samuel Ankeli. He was so emotionally and passionately driven to demand this fund for Para-Sports. It did not take me time to approve of same when I saw the kind of personal and other movements he had to bring to ensure that this structure is delivered for people with disabilities.
I also congratulate the members of this Fund’s Governance Board. We are as Nigeria giving you a duty that is likely the most change-impacting in this era of recession. I pray God to give you the energy to do this for our nation.
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 the 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.
I want to thank the Offa community. The reports of the turnout of the children has given me hope that the re-engineering decisions we took on the NSDFI were worthy decisions. On the very first day of table tennis, more than 400 children turned up. I also thank them for not only receiving us but also gearing up their children for stardom. I see many of these children in a couple of years bringing so much honour and wealth to their community.
Dr Mike Omotosho, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the ParaSports, you must beat the Nigeria Sports Development Fund’s Governing Board headed by Aare Afe Babalola (SAN). These are icons who have achieved monumental marks in human capital development agreeing to serve the nation through our structures. We appreciate and thank you on behalf of Nigerians.
Dr Omotosho’s choice brought joy to my heart. He is one person I have carefully been following his rise. His campaign during the last gubernatorial elections in Kwara was unique. His annual lectures outstanding and vision bearing. His landmarks in Rotary. Now, he needs to bring all these experiences with his team to change Nigeria. You can change Nigeria and you must do it well. All you need to succeed we shall make available to you.
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 realise 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?
BEING SPEECH BY CHIEF (DR) EMMANUEL IWUANYANWU (MFR), CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF NIGERIA SPORTS DEVELOPMENT FUND INC (NSDFI) ON 2nd FEBRUARY2017 AT THE INUAGURATION OF NIGERIA PARA SPORTS DEVELOPMENT FUND