Charge For More Of Good Works

By kazeem Olalekan Israel Gcaf
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It cannot be gainsaid that ever since the appointment of Seun Fakorede as the Oyo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, and, by extension, the emergence of Engr. Seyi Makinde as the Governor of the State sports’ development has taken a new look considering the attention being paid to the sporting sector of the State. Based on available facts, no government in recent time have invested so much in the sports’ sector than Governor Seyi Makinde considering the number of projects being executed to that effect across the State and the attention being paid to the welfare of athletes in all category. And this has in turn has a positive impact in the performances of 3SC (which is the football team of the State) in the Nigeria Professional Football League and some other athletes of the State.

It will not be out of place to conclude that Governor Seyi Makinde knows the importance of investing in the Sports’ Sector as much as he is investing in other Sectors. And, this is so, because he has set his priority right. I have always maintained that the Nigerian problem is not the absence of resources, but the failure of our political office-holders to make good use of available resources at their disposal.

Beyond the narrative that Seun Fakorede, until recently, happens to be the youngest Commissioner in Nigeria, under the current dispensation, he has shown willingness, readiness and commitment to excellently render service in living up to the creed of his appointment beyond partaking in bewildering distraction while taking refuge in self-deception of youthfulness. All these are evident in the recent performances of the State in sporting activities across the board.

For a fact, since the administration of Seyi Makinde came on board, the State has had; 7 Gold, 17 Silver and 13 Bronze at the 59th National Youth Games, Ilorin 2019; 2 Gold at the Nigerian Cricket Federation (PWC) South-West U-17 Cricket Championship, (Ibadan, Oyo State), August 2019; 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze at the Mutual Benefit Assurance Badminton Championship (Lagos State), October 2019; 3 Gold, 4 Silver and 3 Bronze at the 1st South-West Para-Powerlifting Championship, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, December 2019; 2 Silver, 1 Bronze at the 2nd Rivers National Open Karate and Kickboxing Championship 2020; a Gold at the Africa Amateur Individual Chess Championship which held in Sierra Leone in September 2019; 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze at the All African Games that were held in Morocco in September 2019; 2 Gold and a Bronze at the 2020 Africa Continental Track Cycling Championship in Cairo, Egypt; a Bronze at the 2020 West Africa and Central Africa Tennis Championship in Lome, Togo; 2 Gold at the 2021 African Continental Championship (Cycling), Cairo, Egypt - Tawa Yekeen and Winner of the Boys’ Singles Title at the recent ITTF World Hopes Challenge in Oman - Usman Okanlawon.

Despite years of paradox of resource and neglect that was witnessed in the State, Governor Seyi Makinde has been making good use of the scarce resources at the disposal of the State Government under his watch without necessarily making his administration one that will have to blame past administration(s) for the woes plaguing the State since he came on board. In fact, with covid-19 threat, which ordinarily should have had a negative turn on the Internally Generated Revenue across board, the State Government improvised and ensure that the business of governance is not neglected.

Furthermore, there are serious ongoing Sports’ project within the State, ranging from the remodelling of Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, to the remodelling of Olubadan Stadium, Iyaganku, Ibadan, to the remodelling of Durbar Stadium, Oyo, to the remodelling of Soun Township Stadium, Ogbomoso, to the remodelling of Ebedi Township Stadium, Iseyin, to the construction of Saki Township Stadium, Saki, and the construction of Igboora Stadium Complex, Igboora, amongst other projects that are basically towards youths’ empowerment which include but not limited to, the Oyo State Talent Identification and Coach Education Clinic with West Bromwich Albion, England where 20 players were selected to proceed for a closed camping and trial in England and the Non-Oil Export programme aimed at reducing unemployment amongst the youths which was held in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Ibadan by the Ministry where 120 youths were trained.

Additionally, the State Government through the Ministry of Youths and Sports fully purchased 5 players into the 3SC in order to further strengthen the chances of the State at gaining promotion to the NPFL, and, in all sincerity, it is yielding results considering the feats being achieved by the State’s football team today. It will also be recalled that since inception, the 3SC (which is the football team of the State) does not have a website of its own, and, that is quite pathetic. But, of recent, the State Government through the Ministry has designed a befitting, quality website for the team.

Also, the State Government, as I stated earlier, in recognising and honouring the significant performances of the State’s athletes and, in improving the welfare condition of athletes, approved financial reward for the Oyo State Contingents to the 19th National Sports’ Festival held in Abuja in 2018 and also approved the payment of all outstanding allowances from 2016-2019 to the State’s Basket Ball Team.

Past governments have made investing in the Sports’ Sector a thing of regret for stakeholders because of the lakaidaissical attitude being paid to it. And, the attitude has really demoralised many athletes because of the failure of these governments to pay their stipends which will in turn serve as motivation. But, today’s Ministry of Youths and Sports in the State has really confirmed the maxim that “Governance is not rocket science”. The Oyo State Commissioner for Youths and Sports and his Principal has made it known to us that what is needed for a government to succeed is the right intent.

Kazeem Olalekan Israel writes from Ibadan, Nigeria via [email protected]

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