The leadership of the Forum of Directors of Sports of the 36 States of the federation, and that of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) paid a familiarization visit to the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, in his office ahead of the 7th edition of the National Youth Games (NYG) in Asaba, capital of Delta State.
The top brass of the forum were led on the visit, on Wednesday, September 13th, 2023, by its Chairman and Director of Sports Ebonyi State Mr. Utobo Emmanuel to the Minister’s office, located at Package A of the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
In his remarks on the occasion, Mr. Utobo Emmanuel said the essence of the visit was to officially felicitate with him on his appointment as the Minister of Sports as well as to intimate him on the activities of the forum, whose members form bulk of constituents that makes up the National Council on Sports, in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Emmanuel, “the Forum of Directors of Sports, play a pivotal role in the development of sports in Nigeria through grassroots sports because all the athletes are nurtured from the state, before being turned over to the federations and national teams; as elite competitors”.
He reiterated that sports are incomplete without collective planning and participation of the forum; hence their utmost desire is to work in tandem with the Ministry, under the watch of Senator Enoh, by partnering with him, and complementing his vision and goals for the nation’s sports sector, at the states and zonal levels.
“While appreciating you [the Hon. Minister] for granting us audience; as leaders of the Forum and Directors of Sports of our respective states; we appeal to you to see and accord our forum its rightful place, as a serious component for core decision-making, and policy think-tank that would help in repositioning sports development and policies, in the country”; Mr. Emmanuel posited.
The form advised the new Sports Minister to canvass more support and the buy-in of state Chief executives, for more investments in the area of sports development at the grassroots, to complement the efforts of the federal government. This they said can be done if the States and zones are made more functional with all year round activities.
In his response, the Hon. Minister specifically promised in strong terms, to grant all sports the attention they deserve, without bias, and intends to converge all stakeholders to a meeting of the Council of Sports in due course, to help in modifying and solidifying the nation’s sports policy, to be at par with the world’s best standards.
Senator Enoh also revealed his intention to meet with the Governor’s Forum to solicit their support for sports development and funding. “Finally, I will like to assure the forum that we will prioritize the revitalization of the eight sports zonal offices, by bringing them back to life without further delay, to anchor our programmes and serve as our liaison with the states under their watch”.
Director of Sports from Bayelsa State, Sir Braveman Wodi who is the Public Relations Officer of the forum, while moving the vote of thanks, lauded the minister for giving the forum a listening ear and assured him of effective collaboration with the federal ministry of sports, for him to achieve a fruitful tenure as a minister.
The high point of the visit was the presentation of souvenirs to the sports minister Senator John Enoh as well as a group photograph.
Other Directors in attendance at the visit, were Vice-Chairman of the forum, Alhaji Usman Umar Ladan, who is also the Director of Sports Kebbi State, Alhaja Zainab Isaku, Treasurer of the Forum and Director of Sports Gombe, and Alhaji Baba Shesi, the Director of Sports, Niger State.