MINI STADIUMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY: FG TO ADOPT IMO MODEL– SPORTS MINISTER
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare has revealed some of the plans by the Federal Government for the Youth and Sports sector this year.
The Minister made this known in a series of tweets in the early hours of New year’s day, 1st January 2020. Mr Dare disclosed some of the plans of the Ministry to ensure Sports and Youths of Nigeria are taken to higher levels, in line with world standards and best practices.
”Our short term Sports Development Plan for the next two years gradually unfolds. It is focused Infrastructure, Athletes Welfare, Grassroot Sports and Sports as viable business. Abuja Stadium on its way back, National Stadium is set for concession not forgetting Ahmadu Bello Stadium….”
”The Ministry will in 2020 monitor and ensure the completion of about 20 mini-stadiums across the country. The Imo-model of one mini-Stadium per Local government by each state will be marketed”, he added.
On plans for the teeming Nigerian youth, the Minister wrote, ”the government will provide and open up more opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and skill acquisition working with strategic implementation partners….”
The Minister for Sports and Youth Development was in Imo state last November on an inspection tour and as a guest at the Imo State Sports Summit.
The Minister who visited and inspected the ongoing mini-stadium projects of the LGAs expressed his delight at the ingenuity and foresight of Governor Emeka Ihedioha for the idea of grassroots sports development.
The Governor has said it over and over that his administration will give top priority to human capital development by providing the necessary infrastructure and conducive environment for development to thrive in the State.
Imo Bu Nke Anyi.
ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, RT. HON. EMEKA IHEDIOHA, CON, KSC, DECLARING OPEN THE 13th IMO STATE SPORTS FESTIVAL, AT THE IMO GRASSHOPPERS HANDBALL INTERNATIONAL STADIUM, OWERRI.
December 13, 2019.
It is, indeed, with great joy that I join you all on the opening ceremony of the 13th Imo State Sports Festival. I would like to recall that the build-up to this event commenced with my lighting of the Unity Torch on the 2nd of December, in front of the Government House. With this, the Torch commenced its journey round the 27 Local Governments of Imo State. I am impressed by the report of the excitement it generated and the reception Imo people accorded the team at every stop of the journey.
2. The priority place of sports in our Rebuild Imo Agenda cannot be over-emphasized. We have ranked sports high in our agenda because of its critical role leadership development, fitness and good health. We are reviving sports as part of our programme for all-round wellness of our citizens: spirit, soul and body. When our people are fit, they are more productive, families spend less on medical bills and many opportunistic diseases are held at bay. Yes, sports: because sports boosts tourism, investment and economic development. Consequently, we are dedicated to providing enabling environment for the talents of our youths to bloom and the capacities of Imolites to be harnessed.
3. My dear sportsmen and women, this occasion provides us with a good opportunity to pay glowing tributes to our legendary sports personalities. They include the legendary Dick Tiger – the first black African World Middle Weight and Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion; Dan Anyiam – first captain of the national football team, (after whom the State Stadium was named) and Chioma Ajunwa – the first Nigerian Olympic Gold-medallist among numerous others. Others include great Olympiads like Innocent Egbunike, Charty Opara-Asonze and Christy Opara, Emmanuel Amuneke and Mobi Oparaku.
4. We would not fail to mention Nwankwo Kanu, who was born, bred and discovered Imo State. He is currently the Senior Special Assistant on Sports in the Imo State Government. We recall a great Imo son, Sam Okwaraji, who laid down his life for Nigeria, in the field of play. May his soul rest in peace. Amen. Our list is endless but these have been mention to establish the leading place of Imo State as “the Home of Sports” according to the words of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Sunday Dare.
5. Sadly, if you can look back, you would agree with me that the path of succession has narrowed as there are no younger ones to succeed these superstars. But this should not be so. Consequently, we are set to rediscover our sports talents, catch them young and create the enabling environment for them to flourish.
6. Accordingly, we are renovating our main stadia – the Dan Anyiam and the Imo State Grasshoppers International Stadia. This involves the upgrade of the facilities and the addition of new ones. We have awarded contracts for the construction of a modern Indoor Sports Hall and a gymnasium. In the same vein, we are building an Olympic-size Swimming pool at the Oguta Lake Resort. Furthermore, we are partnering with all the Local Governments to construct mini-stadia or upgrade existing ones to provide sporting facilities to the grassroots populace.
7. The indomitable Grasshoppers Women Handball Club of Owerri, is back again. These Imo State born African Amazons have been nominated to represent Nigeria in the 30th edition of the African Club Championship scheduled for Algeria in April next year. Similarly, our volleyball team, the Heartland Spikers have been nominated to represent Nigeria in an international tournament in Morrocco next year.
8. After observing our landmark achievements in the few months of this administration, some friends of the State have urged us to bid for the 13th National Sports Festival in 2022. After considering what we stand to gain from the hosting, we have appointed a star-studded committee to bid for the games. I am hopeful that when we win the hosting rights, through the games, we would discover future national and international champions. We therefore hope that these games would open international doors to our sports men and women, unlock destinies and revive dormant skills. It would also send out signals to investors and our children in the diaspora that Imo is open for business again.
9. Through this Sports Festival, I am looking forward to receiving reports of new records that would be set and new athletes that would be discovered. These revelations would fly the flags of Imo State in subsequent national and international sports meets. They would, indeed, become our brand ambassadors. I have directed the Chairman and CEO of the Commission, Mr. fan Ndubuoke to rolls out an ward ceremony for outstanding sports adminstrators, new revelations, and various outstanding athletes after the games.
10. At this juncture, permit me to enjoin all competitors and officials to imbibe the spirit of fair play in all the proceedings. The joy in sports is not felt only winning but, most of all, in participating. In the same vein, I urge all our youths, who are gifted in any area of sports, to begin to sharpen their talents as their time has come. We pledge our support to them and commitment to giving them the wings to fly. Let me again reiterate my earlier invitation to all our sports persons, who left the state because of poor administration of the recent past, to come home and join us in the efforts to Rebuild Imo through sports.
11. On this note, I would like to use this occasion to congratulate the State’s Sports Commission for reviving this very important festival.
12. It is my honour and great delight to declare this event open.
13. I wish you all a very successful outing.
14. LET THE GAMES BEGIN.
Final Torch-Lighting/Opening Ceremony for the 13th Imo State Sports Festival.
Happening live at the Grasshopper International Sports Complex, Dan Anyiam Stadium Owerri.
Handball Competition ongoing between
Grassroot team A vs Grassroot team B
Imo Bu Nke Anyi.
IHEDIOHA FLAGS OFF IMO SPORTS FESTIVAL
●As Torch Tour Commences Across 27 LGAs
BY DESMOND EKWUEME
The 13th Imo State Sports Festival is underway as His Excellency Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha (CON) lights the Unity Torch inside the Douglas House, Owerri Monday morning.
The Torch is already on tour of the 27 LGAs across the state with the Chairmen of the Interim Management Committees standing by to receive it.
According to the Executive Chairman of Imo Sports Commission, Chief Fan Ndubuoke, a famous and accomplished athlete or sports personality from each of the LGAs is expected to receive the Unity Torch from his or her Local Government boss before the Torch moves to the next LGA.
“Our plan is to sensitise Imolites and create awareness for the Festival. We want the people to be part of the whole exercise. The exercise of rebuilding Imo through sports. We want them to feel the impact of His Excellency’s passion for sports and it’s development”, Ndubuoke stated.
The Sports boss further hinted that, “The Torch Tour has been scheduled in phases. It will run from Monday to Friday across the Local Government Councils which have been zoned based on their proximity and easy access to all Imolites”.
The Sports Festival kicks off on the 5th and will run till 17th of December. It is to enable Imo Sports Commission select athletes for the forthcoming Edo 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF). Gov. Ihedioha has made it clear that Imo will attend the NSF in style which will be a clear departure from the past when they merely attend just for the fun of it.
Ihedioha is using sports as a key force and factor in his Rebuild Imo project which has seen him award contracts for the renovation and rehabilitation of Dan Anyiam Stadium, Grasshoppers International Handball Stadium, Old Township Stadium and Indoor Sports Hall. He has also awarded contract for a sports complex behind Dan Anyiam Stadium which will house a state-of-the-art gym already on the sea from Holland, an indoor basketball hall and a doping centre.
Just last Thursday, Ihedioha through Imo Sports Commission organised Imo Sports Summit which has set the tone for a sports policy for the state and Nigeria at large. The Summit was attended by top sports personalities like Dr. Amos Adamu, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, Prof Ken Anugweje, Prof Emmanuel Ojeme, Mike Iteamuagbor, ACP Chioma Ajunwa, Dr Kweku Tandoh, Dr. Ademola Are, Dr Mitchel Obi, Chief Dan Ngerem and Dr. Ndi Okereke Onyuike among others.
Ihedioha Lights 13th Imo Sports Festival Torch
By Ori Martins
It was excitement galore as Governor Emeka Ihedioha got the 13th edition of the Imo State Sports Festival in festive mood by lighting the Unity Torch with acclaimed international special sports athlete Duru Goodness Chinasa as the bearer.
Performing the ceremony at the government house, Ihedioha expressed delight on the fantastic shape sports is taking in the state. He promised to support sports from the grassroots for maximum result. According to him, “We are here to repackage and reposition sports in the state. First, this administration must ensure that all the necessary facilities must be put in place for our sports to grow and develop”.
As a way of motivating the athletes, their coaches and managers, Ihedioha made it clear that Imo was bidding for the 21st edition of the National Sports Festival, clearly vowing that all the modalities towards getting the hosting rights were being put in place. The sports loving governor pragmatically pledged scholarship schemes to all Imo State athletes who would win medals during any national or international competition.
Speaking, the chairman of Imo State Sports Commission, Chief Fan Ndubuoke commended the governor for his support since the creation of the commission, promising that the commission would work assiduously towards transforming as well as resuscitating sports now in a state of comatose. He revealed that the essence of the festival was to discover athletes from the LGAs in preparation for national and international competitions.
Taking off from their, the torch which is scheduled to tour all the 27 LGAs in the state in the order of the five sports zones in the state, landed at Ngor Okpala LGA where the IMC chairman, Comrade Charlse Abara received it and welcomed the sports commission entourage accompanied by the commissioner of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. Johnbosco Okeahialam.
At Aboh Mbaise, the IMC chairman, Comrade Joseph Onyeneke and his team were quite delighted to receive the torch as well as the commission’s team. Here, the council’s athletes danced round in appreciation of the torch that got down at their domain. It was still the same in Ezinihitte and Ahiazu Mbaise LGAs.
The state sports festival commences on December 12, 2019.