The 2 day Inter Ministerial Technical Session on Sports Industry Development organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group came to a close with a commitment from the Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare, to hit the ground running to turn the ideas to reality. “Let me make the commitment that is most important on the part of the Ministry because the Ministry is the implementor. The Ministry under my leadership will run not walk or with these ideas and turn them into actions through policy initiatives, projects and ideas will come up to make sure we do this”, the Minister pledged.

While assuring of his commitment to getting Nigeria’s Sports facilities working, he said, “There are more than 17 activities going on in the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, contrary to what is reported. This is a stadium that was at 20 percent functionality, abandoned for nearly 21 years, owned by the Federal Government, zero funding, yet remains one of the best built stadiums in Africa”.

“With what we have done in the last 2 days, even without the policy fully ready, have started Sports Development in this country on a new trajectory.”

While emphasising on the importance of grassroot sports development, he heaped on the need to stimulate interest and demand for sports. “Stimulating the interest in sports and for sporting activities is major. If there’s apathy, even if you have the best infrastructure, the best stadium, people won’t still won’t be interested. We have have to find a way to stimulate interest and demand. Without interest and demand, the question of industrialisation, sporting goods industries, merchandising, that entire value chain will not succeed. We need to stimulate and create a demand for sporting activities.”

The Minister while highlighting the importance of content in sports said, “Sports is worth nothing without content. We have a sports industry without content. Years ago, we watched every league match on television, we sat down for 3 hours just to watch a 100m dash blast that would last for 2 minutes and suddenly, all of that disappeared. Our domestic league’s content also disappeared. Thankfully the LMC is taking proactive steps in that direction. When we finally signed our MOU for the Olympics marketing, you will know that we have also started that new process”, he disclosed.

He also stressed the need for a change of attitude and mindset from seeing sports as an event or from the point of participation. He promised that the Ministry under his watch will do things differently to take sports development to a new level.

The Minister had earlier thanked the NESG and partners for their commitment to the meeting to chart a new course for sports in Nigeria. “Thank you so much for your work”, he said. “The reward for these will not just be more work, the reward will be that the Ministry must go ahead and turn these good ideas into action. That would be the real reward. So that when you hear about the policy, you can say yes we did this.”

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