Abuja (Min. of Youth and Sports Devt.) – The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, has redeemed its pledge of offering hope and assistance to athletes and youths through its policy of ‘adopt an athlete’ campaign to enable them realize their aspirations and dreams of qualifying and attaining optimum and podium performances in their different sports at the level of Olympic Games and world championship events.
The bold initiative and practical demonstration which was brought to the fore at the launch of ‘adopt an athlete’ campaign by the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, attracted Captains of Industries from the Private Sector and Sports philanthropists in the country.
During the event held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos recently, the Minister in his keynote address said, “These athletes, our youths have hope, the hope to succeed in whatever they do. The hope of the athlete is to be at the Olympics, or the World Championship for their sport, to stand on the podium, and fly their country’s flag, they want to be the reasons why Nigeria’s flag should be hoisted and the National Anthem sung while the world watches. This is their reward but it is also our honour, prestige, and pride among Nations.
Speaking further on the importance of hope to an athlete, the Minister said it is this hope that drives them to invest in themselves, work hard to endure all odds and try to surmount every challenges. He therefore urged participants not to dash the hopes of the athletes.
The Minister who explained in details what the ‘Adoption Programme’ offers, emphatically stated that the Ministry hopes to reach at least 25 number of athletes in 11 different sports, he believes that there are partners who will adopt at least one athlete and support them to win Gold Medals.
By this, he said, “We hope we can give them the right pedestal to flourish and guarantee increased chances of success at the games.”
Mr. Dare further appealed to the corporate world to give hope to our athletes and youths by adopting just either of these – an athlete, a facility, a stadium – or a training track , a boxing ring, the volleyball court at the corner of the community.
In an event which paraded many side attractions such as performing artistes and former Nigerian Olympians in the likes of Falilat Ogunkoya, Olumide and Iniobong, the Minister also said that the Ministry is forging a working partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) to ensure that individuals and corporate organisations get value for whatever they put in sports, adding that the collaboration with the NESG would eventually birth the Nigerian Sports Industry Policy ( NSIP).
It is pertinent to note that some dignitaries in the likes of notable business mogul of Sir Kensington Adebutu keyed into the campaign. He agreed to renovate the National Stadium, Surulere – Lagos. The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt Hon. Phillip Shuaibu also adopted a Nigerian based athlete while another philanthropist, known as Halogen adopted Odunayo Adekuoroye Followed by Tobi Amusan who was also adopted.
In the course of his address, Mr. Dare explained that the Diaspora adopted athletes would receive $20,000; while the home based are primed to get $10,000 from the individuals and corporate bodies who adopted them.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Olusade Adesola affirmed that the Ministry in realisation of the importance of harnessing the potentials of our youths have provided the platform of ‘adopt an athlete’ campaign to engage the public and private sector organizations for support for youth development agenda and the sports sector through the work experience programme and the sports adopt programme.