By Amaechi Agbo
The federal government of Nigeria has lauded Africa Union Sports Council, AUSC for its Young Leaders in Sports Workshop.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of youth and sports development, Adesola Olusade gave the commendation Saturday in Abuja during the closing ceremony of the 4-day leadership workshop.
Mr Adesola urged the participants to put the knowledge they gained during the workshop in order to promote sports development and management in the respective countries.
“When I first came here on the opening day, I saw faces and young Africans who are ready and willing to learn. They looked forward to what would be taught and what is in the store. Perhaps we need new aspirations and new visions, at the end of it today (Saturday), I also see people that are now equipped to assumed leadership positions in sports development. Not leaders of tomorrow, but leaders of today.
“For the various works you did, I saw the commitment to be disciplined, work as a team and attain the highest possible pinnacle in your careers. I saw individuals that have set targets for themselves which requires persons with gut and determination to get there. I believe that this workshop achieved the purpose for which it was convened.
“I want to thank the AU for giving Nigeria the opportunity to host this event. I also spoke with Lina (AUSC Interim head) that now that you have acquired the foundational and basic knowledge, what is required of you now is to share the knowledge with your colleagues when you go back your country so that the multiplier effect will be much not only in your country, sub-region but in the continent and the world at large.
“We look forward to hearing various drives from you especially as this knowledge will impact in the development of AUSC Region 2. We are in the AUSC Region 2, we want to be a region per excellent. The initiative of the AU in establishing the regional arrangement is indeed laudable. During the years we were under Supreme Council, it was a singular body coordinating all of us. Opportunities like this might not have come our way.
“Look at what has happened with decentralisation of responsibilities and roles, many of us are benefiting from the developmental efforts of the AUSC in ways that we might not have imagined could happen in our life time.
“To you, the young leaders, you have acquired the knowledge and you are going back to your country as young leaders; my mandate to you is that you came here as an ordinary person, but I am glad to pronounce to you that you are going back to your countries as ambassadors of AUSC Region 2.
“Ambassadors are representatives of their countries in foreign lands. For instance, if Nigeria wants to discuss with Togo, she will look for the ambassador of Togo in Nigeria. You are now going to be ambassadors of an entity that has no border because AUSC is not a country but we need you in your country so that we will be able to achieve the aims and objectives of AUSC in your country.
“AUSC Region 2 is still at the formative stage, efforts are being made to galvanise members of the states in the sub-region together in order promote the interest and also promote those factors that will really help Africans to really develop in sports.
“Therefore, in days to come, we will continue to engage with you and also relate with the government of your country in order to promote the activities of AUSC Region 2 in your country.
“As ambassadors of AUSC Region 2, I want to welcome you on board as you join us in the mighty task of lifting the level of activities of AUSC Region 2 in the sub-region. As you go back to your respective countries, on behalf of the honourable minister of youth and sports, Mr Sunday Dare, I wish success in your future endeavours,” he said.
Earlier in her address, AUSC Interim Head, Ms Linda Paul Kessy commended the federal government for its effort in seeing to the needs of the council but appealed for more collaborations with member states in sports development.
“Sports in Africa is undergoing major reforms and transformations. In January 2012, the Africa Union Executive Council dissolved the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa and endorsed the establishment of the architecture for sport in Africa and transfers its functions to the Africa Commission and establishment of the AUSC Secretariat which among other functions is mandated to promote sports development and development through sports.
“To ensure proper coordination and scaling down of the AUSC Secretariat functions and to ensure relevance in contributing to the social and economic development in the continent, the Executive decision further requested the Commission to restructure the former Supreme Council for Sports in Africa Sports Development Zones into 5 AU Sports Development Regions. AUSC Region 2 is hosted in Nigeria which has been very instrumental in advancing sports agenda in the region and at the continental level.
“Sport is a cross cutting issue and speaks the language which is understood by young people and it is mainly participated by them. Unfortunately, their voice and representation at the managerial level is very low. Various reasons are associated with low representation. It is against this background and in line with the Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6, the AU Sport Council in collaboration with the AUSC region 2 took the step ahead to train young leaders in sports as trainers in the area of sports management and that after this seminar, they will go back to their respective countries to train, motivate and empower other to join the field it is time to change the narrative.
“I would like to appeal to the Honourable Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria to continue engaging other ministers from AUCS Region 2 countries to promote sports and youth agenda in our continent and provide practical guidance on the way forward on the implementation of the Assembly decisions on sports development and youth empowerment.”
In his address the General Manager, Africa Union Sports Council, Region 2, Mr Caleb Gidado, said the essence of the seminar was to produce future leaders in sports in the sub-region and charged the participants to remain true ambassadors of the AUSC Region 2.
“The quality of administrators, at whatever level of running sports, have direct bearing on the quality of results achieved. That is why the Africa Union Sports Council, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, of Nigeria, is spearheading this seminar to groom young sports administrators who will take-over the mantle of leadership in the sports sector in the nearest future.
“The Africa Union Sports Council has packaged this seminar to help us see ‘the winning Africa we all want’. An Africa that will produce athletes that will mount the podium at all international meets through the able leadership of these young ones we are grooming to day.
“Let me put it on record that we at the Africa Union Sports Council Region 2, are very grateful to the Africa Union Commission for choosing us to be the pacesetters in this drive.”
Highlights of the ceremony was presentation of certificate of participation to all the representatives.
A total of 28 participants drawn from the 15 countries that make up Africa Union Sports Council Region 2, AUSC Region 2 (West Africa) attended the 4-day young leaders in sports seminar which started on October 23 through 26.