By Amaechi Agbo
The Africa Union Sports Council, Region 2 (AUSC2) and First Legendary Investment Limited have signed agreement for development and promotion of sports in the West Africa sub-region.
The partnership agreement which was signed at the Conference Room of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports on Tuesday, was aimed at championing and promoting four cardinal factors necessary for the development of sports within the 15 member nations of the sub-region.
Among the factors are brand building, fundraising, sponsorship and capacity building.
Explaining the necessity for the partnership, the Chairman/CEO First Legendary Investment Limited, Mainasara Illo said the company was driven by the need to develop and promote sports in the subregion and promised the commitment of the company to keep to terms of the agreement
“The AUSC2 and First Legendary Investment have worked together to come up with this event which would launch AUSC2 in the continental and global map of sports.
“The agreement signposts our opportunity to contribute to sports development in the sub region and to actualise our aspiration in that aspect in service delivering. It is also a way for us to give back to what the West Africa subregion and for me Nigeria have done over the years. In the process, we have looked at the limitations and the merits in the region – the things that make us thick and the things that are challenging. For instance, it was easy for us to find out that with a population of 400 million in the region, constituted about 60% by young people and children, exist a big poll of resources that could be utilised.
“Having looked at all this, we arrived at four areas we can work together with the AUSC2. The first among them is Brand Building. The AUSC2 is a new organisation. A new organisation and even standing one needs to be built and made a household name such that people especially sponsors will identify with it.
“Brand building is about packaging, let’s bring this organisation out, let it represent the big weight of the Africa Union and let it be seen to so represent. In time we will be talking about a secretariat for the AUSC2, well-organised and technologically equipped to perform its functions as organisation of such are doing across the globe. So brand building is the first pact of our agreement with the AUSC2
“The second one is Fundraising. If given the right corporation, we can raise fund for the union. I am worried that the narrative in the sports industry has not been too nice for sponsorship because sponsors don’t want to hear about acrimony, polarisation or missing money and all that. However, I am sure we will get over that and get working. Trust me, we will do everything to raise fund.
“The 3rd is sponsorship servicing. This is an area that has not developed very well in Nigeria. Sponsorship Servicing and experiential servicing are basically aspects where you make the sponsors believe that they have value for their money. When they visit your events, you treat them like kings and give them seats where they can shake hands with the authority. You give them the best possible drinks, best viewing points and the best parking space in the parking lots. They are all about giving your sponsors best treatment they deserve. By doing this, you are encouraging them to give you more sponsorship.
“The fourth part is Capacity Building: we have noticed and believe that the union needs to have a secretariat that has the capacity not only for communication but understanding global trends in sports, management and sports marketing. These are the areas that cover the agreement we signed today,” he said.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Adesola Olusade, commended both parties for coming up with the agreement and enjoined them to make it a long-lasting partnership
“I am highly pleased to welcome you all on the agreement signing between the AUSC2 and First Legendary Investment Ltd. I am sure of the impact and importance of this agreement which has a duration of 4 years and will champion the quest for grassroots sports development in the region.
“The agreement as the CEO explained covers also capacity building of personnel of the AUSC2. As we all know, sports are very capital intensive such that government cannot do it alone. There is no country in the world where sports are exclusively funded by government alone.
The need thus arises for us in Nigeria and particularly the Region 2 to engage marketing experts, consultants and firms to raise funds to execute sporting programmes in line with international best practices.
“From its track records, the First Legendary Investment Limited, whose CEO is a celebrated sports marketer, have organised several sports meets both in Nigeria and overseas. I am confident that this partnership will bring the much desired fund for the AUSC2 to implement her programmes not only in Nigeria but across the 15 West Africa countries as laid down by the AUSC2 strategic plan from 2107 to 2024.
“The sports industry is vast with programmes for the young, the old, men, women, able-bodied, physically challenged, elites and professionals. There are also programmes for urban and rural communities. Most importantly, programmes that will make for unity, peace, social inclusion, regional integration and socio-economic development of nations as enshrined in the goals of the AU through the medium of sports. These are things the AUSC2 strategy has been outlined to actualise, there are therefore marketing opportunities for organisations willing to partner with the AUSC Region 2. I therefore call on all marketing promoters and sponsors to emulate the giant steps of the First Legendary Investment Limited to join hand with the AUSC2 and the ministry in order to move national sports forward as well as the regional sports efforts. On this note, I want to congratulate the two parties for entering into this agreement and further wish that it will be an enduring and global partnership that will lead to rapid sports development not only in West Africa but Africa in general. It is our desire to see that Region 2 becomes a reference point in Africa so that other regions will come to emulate us,” he said.