By Umar Muhammad Puma
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on the private sector and philanthropists to support the game of golf in order to raise the prize money and attract internationally-acclaimed golfers to play in Nigerian tournaments.
The Minister, who made the call at the opening of the 2018 West African Golf Tour at the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja, on Thursday, observed that the current prize money of $50,000 for both Lagos and Abuja tours will not attract top class professional golfers to Nigeria.
He said countries stand to benefit greatly from sporting activities, hence the need for the government and the private sector to tap into the enormous opportunities that golf presents, and to support the West Africa Golf Tour in developing the game.
Alhaji Mohammed stressed the need to leverage on golf and other sporting activities to promote tourism and showcase Nigeria to the rest of the world.
“The West Africa Golf Tour speaks for the commitment that I hold, as the Minister of Information and Culture, for the promotion of Nigeria’s rich tourism potentials.
It showcases Nigeria to the world – our golf courses, natural surroundings and cities as well as our culture, thereby putting Nigeria, West Africa and Africa in the limelight and helping to advance the efforts to improve our image and economy,” he said.
The Minister encouraged the golfers to go beyond the competition and consider the tournament as another platform to further strengthen the bond of unity that exists among the people of the West African sub-region and the continent in general.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, I would like to welcome you all to our great country.
Certainly, each of you will pit your skills and talents against your opponents. But I encourage you to go beyond competition to also showcase talent and to come closer to each other.
This initiative is a clear example of how sports also contribute to integrating people within Nigeria, West Africa and across the continent,” he said.
The ongoing West African Tour has attracted golfers from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, Germany, Zambia and Zimbabwe.