The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, has urged private and corporate organisations operating in Nigeria to support sporting activities to enhance speedy development of the sector for nation building.
He spoke recently in Abuja during the presentation of specially designed hand-held Nigeria National Flags; fez caps; wrist and head bands designed in national colures and donated by the Flag Foundation of Nigeria (FFN) in support of team Nigeria at the on-going 2021 edition of Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The minister, who was represented at the occasion by Arch. Abiodun Owoborade, Special Adviser on HM Projects, applauded FFN for the support, describing it as a demonstration of uncommon sense of patriotic and nationalistic ideal by a non-governmental organisation.
He said that by its very nature, sport is about participation, inclusion and citizenship, even as he noted that the intrinsic values of sport which include, teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game can be harnessed in the advancement of solidarity, social cohesion, and peaceful coexistence that Nigeria needs at the moment to overcome myriads of challenges besetting it.
The Minister however, appealed to philanthropists, other non-governmental organisations and good spirited Nigerians to emulate FFN and support the sports sector for promotion of peace, tolerance and understanding in the country.
Director-General and Chief vexillologist of FFN, Agiri Chris Esq., said in his remarks at the occasion that the feeling of nationalism is indispensable to the idea of nation-building and that sports is the essential thread that binds people together and helps in developing a feeling of patriotism and unity that can counter regional factionalism, ethnic sentiments, and sinister designs.
He recalled that Nigeria is an extremely heterogeneous society, comprising peoples of different ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. “We use sport to let people understand and appreciate each other beliefs, values and way of life better, leading to tolerance, harmonious and peaceful co-existence,” he said.
According to him, the current socio-economic and political challenges besetting the country is a necessary phase that usually accompanies developing nations on their way to achieving greatness. He argued that no human society is without challenges and as a result “what we need is to activate our faith and believe in our country as patriotic citizens by contributing our individual or collective quota to the survival of our country.”
On the donation of items in support of the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, the FFN boss explained that his organisation is committed in championing causes that would impact positively in the unity and peaceful co-existence amongst Nigerians.
“The donation we made to the Federal Ministry of Sports is our own way of expressing our faith and believe in our dear country that challenges notwithstanding we are proud of our country and very committed in the efforts to promote unity and faith as enshrined in our nations Coat of Arms,’’ he said.
According to him, the country will emerge from the present condition of things stronger and better positioned to lead the African continent.