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Lagos Sports Commissioner Commends Airtel over ARS

Calls for Public, Private Partnership
By Uche Peter
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Lagos, Nigeria; Thursday, May 8th, 2014: The Lagos State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Barrister Enitan Oshodi, has applauded Airtel for its contribution to the development of grassroots soccer through the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) U-17 football championship, which enters its fourth season this year.

Speaking while receiving a delegation of Nigerian youngsters, who participated at the just-concluded Airtel/Arsenal Soccer Clinic in Kigali, Rwanda, the Honourable Commissioner, who was represented by the Lagos Director of Sports, Dr Kweku Tandoh, expressed delight at the initiative and achievements recorded since the inception of ARS in 2011.

'I want to congratulate Airtel for creating this programme. In Lagos State, we encourage private partnership because the Government cannot do everything alone. So, when we find corporate organisations like Airtel involved in these developmental initiatives, it makes us proud. I want to thank the management for this,' he said.

Speaking further, the Honourable Commissioner further called on key players in the private sector to emulate the telecommunications operator in bringing development to their communities just as he noted that the State Government has embarked on some sports development initiatives which requires partnership with the private sector.

'We want to thank the management of Airtel for this and to encourage other corporate entities to emulate what Airtel is doing. The Lagos State Government under His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola has demonstrated significant commitment to developing various sports in the state.

'This has earned the state an international status such that today we play host to some international sporting events. The focus in Lagos State is sports development and not sports competition. I want to encourage your support for what we are doing,' he said.

He urged the ARS players to make their experience at the Soccer Clinic count in all areas of their lives, while encouraging them to pursue formal education even to the tertiary level.

'The experience you have garnered from the ARS exposure will assist you greatly in realizing your dreams and your future endeavours. Much more than this, give attention to your education because education will sustain you after sports.'

The team which visted the Honourable Commissioner include Felix Ofulue, Internal Communications Manager, Airtel Nigeria; Akabude Uche Peter, Media Manager, Blueflower Ltd; Lilian Ukara, Client Executive, Integrals Ltd and the six ARS players including Ridwan Adeleke (Best Goal Keeper), Olu Gabriel (Highest Goal Scorer) and Wisdom Uforo (MVP). Others are Augustina Boniface (Best Goal Keeper) Falegan Joy (Highest Goal Scorer) and Kafayat Shittu (MVP) in the female category.