Vice President of of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has promised that the Federal Government will do all within its powers to ensure that Nigerian children and youths get the best of opportunities to be exposed to career-supporting structures like sports.
Osinbajo was speaking when he received the officials of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI) in his office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday. They were led by former African sprint champion and Olympic medallist Mary Onyali and based the courtesy call on the Basic Olympic Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST).
According report made available to Extrasportsnigeria.com, Osinbajo said, “As a nation and government, we are appreciative of the fact that the 11 of you felt the strong need to give back to the society. We shall expect you to intensify these efforts and give as many as possible young children and youths the opportunities to replace you with greater laurels and achievements.
“Today, sport is the only and biggest source of hope for children from poor homes to become global leaders. Every Nigerian needs to rise and support this initiative. That you are not seeking for government funds makes you a unique initiative. That you want Nigerians to put N200.00 each to the project is what is feasible and achievable.
“As a government, we are ready to support you with structures that will help our nation meet the targets you have set. I will be glad to receive the 10 medals target you have set for Tokyo Olympics. From the analysis of the 90 athletes in your plan, it is very feasible.”
Onyali said, “We have designed to salvage our nation’s image in international sports with a short term project. We have chosen 90 athletes in five sports: Weightlifting, Taekwondo, Athletics, Wrestling and Table tennis. These athletes will enjoy N35million each to prepare adequately for the Games. It’s our ambition that 30% of these athletes will qualify for the Games and another 30% to make the podium in whatever colour of medals. This should give us 10 medals.
She added, “Sports is the biggest economy in the world. With 10% of our 160 million Nigerians putting their N200.00 behind any of our 10 icons, we shall create about 3million jobs. In four years, we are looking at engaging 1million children and youths in sports. All these are at no cost to any tier of government. With the right policy support we can do more.”
The other members of the delegation are the Ag Director General of the NSDFI, Jide Fashikun; Mrs Sandra Onyekwere and Alhaji Abdulfatai Adeshina.”