By Aaron Ossai
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, kicked-off the 2018 edition of the Ikeoha Youth Sports Championship at the Awgu Township Stadium, Enugu State at weekend.
Declaring open the annual Championship, which features competitions in football, basketball, and athletics by the youth in the five Local Government Areas, LGAs, in Enugu West Senatorial District, Ekweremadu said it was intended to imbibe in the youth the spirit of sportsmanship, healthy competition, friendship, and to provide opportunities for the youth to flourish in sports. He urged them to eschew the desire to win by all means.
The Senator urged government at all levels and well-meaning Nigerians to support grassroots sports development to revive the nation’s dwindling sports fortunes.
“Nigeria’s sporting might has declined significantly because the nation has neglected grassroots sports over the years. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to reverse the trend and bring back the glorious days. It is also my hope that participants in this Championship will play for club sides in and outside the country and also represent Nigeria in the near future”, he stressed.
The Championship, which comes to a close with the final of the football competition at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, on Sunday, February 18, 2018, opened with a goalless draw by Aninri and Awgu LGAs football teams.
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate has also reassured his constituents that education and human capital development remained his top priority, calling on them to bring any school without a conducive learning environment to his attention for his immediate intervention.
Senator Ekweremadu gave the assurances in Aninri Local Government during the educational empowerment programme organised by the Hon. Toby Okechukwu Foundation at the weekend.
He said: “No people or nation can develop beyond the quality of their human capital, especially in our modern, knowledge-driven global economy, irrespective of the natural resources at their disposal. This is why human capital development has always remained our top priority right from my days as the Chairman of Aninri Local Government Area in 1997. This also informed our interventions in both our official and personal capacities to provide educational infrastructure, bursary awards, and scholarships”.
The Senator, therefore, commended the Hon. Toby Okechukwu Foundation for providing desks and science equipment for schools in Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, and also for enrolling 30 persons into the ultra-modern European Vocational Training Centre, Enugu, which he (Ekweremadu) promotes to address the challenge of unemployment in Enugu State and beyond.