By Paul Efiong
The Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Almakura has deplored the neglect of school sports by successive governments in the country over the years.
This according to him, is responsible for the lack lustre performance of our sports men and women in major international events in recent years.
The governor made these assertions while delivering this speech at the opening ceremony of the maiden edition of the Federal Education Sector Games (FEDUGAM 2017) at the Lafia Township Stadium on Monday.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Silas Agara, the Governor recalled the golden years when sporting events were effectively encouraged by the relevant authorities making educational institutions the veritable avenues that nurtured and discovered some of our most successful sports young men and women, who brought honour and glory to the country; stressing that Nasarawa State has domesticated school sports since the emergence of this government in 2017.
He identified grassroots sport development as the panacea for grooming talents and ensuring the emergence of future athletes, adding that his government was intensifying efforts to create a synergy with the federal education and sport authorities to help create well rounded citizens both physically and mentally for national development.
According to him, Nasarawa State is proud to host the maiden edition of the sports event to foster national unity and solidarity.
In his speech, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu represented by the Permanent Secretary, Arch. Sonny Echono, expressed his profound appreciation to the Nasarawa State Government and reiterated that the idea of bringing the Games to the state was to promote a cordial and harmonious relationship.
“It is significant to note that the Federal Education Sector Games was introduced with three cardinal objectives, which include fostering unity, friendship and synergy among the staff of the ministry and its agencies and promoting the mental and physical fitness of the sectors workforce,” the Minister further asserted.
According to Mallam Adamu, the Ministry is “conscious of the need to re-introduce school sports including football and other sporting activities in all our institutions as a way of creating a pool of talents for selection in national and international competition”. As part of this effort, the school sport for the 104 federal unity colleges is taking place in Jos, Plateau State, he added.
While acknowledging that the event will serve as a forum to discover hidden sports talents within the Public Service and also serve or a binding force among the staff, the Minister also appealed for decorum and peace among participants as the whole idea is about participation and not the urge to win at all cost.