By Our Reporter
Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, has promised the board of the Paralympic Committee of Nigeria (PCN) a platform to operate through endorsement from the ministry to sponsors.
The minister stated this when he received the PCN led by its president, Sunday Odebode, in his office at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The minister while assuring Odebode and his members of support from his office (of the minister), advised the board to seek for sponsorship and plan for its events ahead.
He said the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) has clearly spelt out government involvement in the area of funding as far as sports is concerned.
“The National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) has taken a lot of funds from the government. I want to ask you to see how you can get sponsors for your events and I will also advise that you plan your events ahead to get sponsors. This office is open to initiatives that you have. We are ready to give you the platform to operate through endorsement to get the needed sponsorship,” Enoh said.
Odebode in his remarks appealed to the minister for funding to prosecute the qualifiers for its athletes to qualify for Paris 2024 Paralympics Games.
He commended the minister for his unflinching support to the Paralympic Committee and especially his (minister’s) support in making sure that Nigeria participated in the first African Para Games held in Accra Ghana three months ago.
“Since you resume office I want to say without mincing words that para sports have enjoyed significant strides in the area of participation in tournaments which has given our sports optimal publicity. We will not forget in a hurry how you came to the rescue of the Nation to making sure we participated in the first African para games held in Accra Ghana about three months ago. In that tournament Nigeria features only four athletes in the sports of wheelchair tennis and we were able to get two silver and one bronze medal which is a testimony to the love you have for para sports as your words of encouragement before and during the game inspired the athletes to put up a good showing at the tournament
“2024 is a paralympic year and we need to qualify more athletes to Paris Paralympic Games and record have shown over the years that Nigeria is always one of the leaders at the paralympic games in Africa and the world. The qualifiers for the Paralympic has commenced since over two years ago and the Paralympic Committee Nigeria who are responsible for registering and managing athletes at the games have been working round the clock to ensure a seamless participation of Nigeria athletes in Paris next year
Odebode equally asked the minister for a plot of land at the National Stadium, Lagos where the PCN can build a befitting office as it is presently being hosted by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) which is affecting its operations.
He also dissociated the leadership of his board from a purported Africa Paralympic Games to be hosted by Nigeria saying it is a means by criminal elements to defraud Nigeria. He added that whatever that must be done to promote Nigeria image must be done in a legitimate manner and through the consent of member countries.
“The Paralympic Committee office is being hosted by Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) building since inception of the movement. Restricted spaces have made it inevitable that the Paralympic Committee has its own building. We want to embark on this project. Our appeal to you is for a plot of land in National Stadium Lagos for us to embark on this project behalf of the country.
Those on the entourage of the PCN president are the Secretary General, Alhaji Suleiman Isah, Honourable Rafiu Olawale, Mrs Thecla Opara, Dr Ahmed Sani and Dr Yetunde Arigbede.