At whistle-stop visitations to three eminent personalities and offices in the seat of power, Abuja on Tuesday, Members of the Local Organizing Committee of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament mainstreamed the essence and sublime potentials of the 9-day tournament.
The recurring themes, as espoused by the Chairman of the LOC, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi and the Director of Organization, Ms Aisha Falode at the offices of the Wife of Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo; Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare and; Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, centred on the importance of amplifying the challenges facing the girl-child and collectively working to overcome the same. All these are at the centre of the work being done by the Future Assured Programme of the Aisha Buhari Foundation of Her Excellency, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Buhari.
“The President of the NFF, Mr Amaju Pinnick, came up with this idea as a way of celebrating 30years of Nigeria women football going on the international plane. However, we now see it as the opportunity to bring to the fore the hurdles and obstacles facing women and the girl-child, and in doing so, make policy makers to focus on and tackle them.
“We are also not unaware that a successful tournament will impact positively on the future of women football in Nigeria, and the image of our country as well. We are also looking to use this tournament to project the works of our First Lady in the area of improving the lot of women and the girl-child, and at the end support the Foundation in our own small way,” Akinwunmi said.
Falode, who is also Chairman of the Nigeria Women Football League, emphasized on the impact that positive conversations and narratives generated by a successful tournament can have on the girl-child and the Nigeria nation, saying that football can accomplish the cornerstones of the Future Assured Programme.
“The key aspects of the Future Assured Programme are health, education and economic empowerment, and playing football can empower the girl-child health-wise, academically and economically. This tournament can build an awesome women football industry in this country that the girl-child and women can key into and forget all social vices and impediments.”
At the lunchtime meeting with the Wife of the Vice President, both teams talked extensively on the societal strains and unwholesome circumstances that afflict the girl-child, and which a smile, a hug, a listening ear and a kind word can solve and rescue the child from the precipice.
Mrs Osinbajo said the LOC could not have picked a better person to name the tournament after, herself knowing how passionate the First Lady is about improving the lot of the girl-child and the less privileged in the society.
Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare pledged his full support for the cause of the 13th – 21st September showpiece in two stadia in Lagos, and boosted the LOC’s preparations to organize a befitting tournament with the sum of N50million.
“I have no doubt that this tournament can attract more young girls to the game of football, taking them away from social vices. Football has that huge potential to mobilise, entertain and unify. You all must work hard to deliver a tournament that Nigeria, indeed Africa, will be proud of.”
At the Ministry of Women Affairs, Dame Tallen equally pledged the total support of her ministry, and admonished the organizing committee to work towards using the tournament to highlight and project everything positive about the First Lady and Nigeria as a country.
The members also visited and MKO Abiola National Stadium and appreciated the level of renovation work done so far by workers of Dangote company at the initiative of the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development.
Aside Akinwunmi and Falode, other LOC persons on the train were Hon. Ayo Omidiran (Member); Rt. Hon. Margaret Icheen (Member); Dr Wole Aboderin (Member); AIG Garba Umar Baba (Member); Mr Ademola Olajire (Director of Publicity); Mr Olayinka Olagbemiro (Member); Ms Ruth David (Secretary); Mrs Amina Sani Zangon Daura (Deputy Director of Organization), Miss Kemi Areola (Head of Digital) and; Mr Mohammed Ameenu (Assistant Secretary).