In continuation of activities marking the Queen’s Baton Relay ceremony in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari today received the Baton Relay at the State House Abuja, ahead of the 2022 CommonWealth Games in Birmingham, England which was handed over to him by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare.
Represented by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari said it was a very special pleasure to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Nigeria and reminded the Common Wealth of its strong bond of brotherhood.
According to him, “The Commonwealth as it is known today has come a long way from being just a handful of comity of nations representing former British colonies to a global force that cannot be ignored, on matters of universal peace, democracy, human rights, economic and social development, not forgetting youth development and sports specifically.”
He stated that more than half of the population of the Commonwealth are young and active people, representing the most important resource for the future development of their various countries. These young people, he said, are very positive force for societal development if their talent and energy are properly channeled to noble ideas.
President Buhari explained that sports is one of the formidable and reliable platforms through which this young population can contribute to the development of their societies, that is why he noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria is more than before committed to creating an enabling environment for its youth to engage in both leisure and professional sporting activities.
“In this regard, we have invested massively in sporting infrastructure in the six (6) geo-political Zones of the country”.
He therefore expressed optimism that Nigeria will surpass the feat achieved in Gold Coast Australia in 2018.
Speaking earlier, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare said that the presentation of the Baton Relay to President Muhammadu Buhari today is another remarkable milestone of the Commonwealth Games Federation, which signifies peace, unity and love among the comity of nations.
He stated that the Commonwealth Games has come of age and the Queen’s Baton Relay is now traversing the globe, with an open invitation to elite athletes to converge in a celebration of sporting excellence in an environment of peace and friendship in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Also speaking, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing stated that the Queen’s Baton Relay which is similar to the Olympic Torch is a relay around the world and the Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II.
Stating further that the Relay started in October 2021; when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton. The Baton is expected to travel for 294 days visiting 72 countries, connecting communities in every corner of the Commonwealth, embracing unique cultures and sharing stories which will further ignite hope, solidarity and collaboration for the next generation, with stories inspired to take on the challenges that matter most to us.
Earlier in his remarks, the President, Nigeria Commonwealth Games, Engr. Habul Gumel stated that Nigeria is the first country in Africa to receive the Queen’s Baton Relay after which it will tour 15 other African countries before moving to Asia.
The presentation of the Baton to the President was preceded by a press conference by the Honourable Minister, Youth and Sports Development as well as a relay race at the Aduvie International School, Abuja.
Director, Press & Public Relations