We will monetize sport as business in Abia state – Gov. Alex Otti

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By Steve OkoUMUAHIA

Governor Alex Otti, has declared that under his watch, sports will be run as professional and business ventures in Abia State.

Governor Otti stated this while declaring open the maiden edition of the Governor’s Secondary Schools Unity Games at Umuahia Township Stadium, saying his administration had decided to make the necessary investments in sports to be able to unlock the enormous potentials in the sector.

The Governor said that part of the objectives of the games was for early discovery of the hidden potentials in the students to help develop and harness them.

Otti said he had directed Principals of secondary schools to regularize inter-house sports, and added that the Ministry of Youths and Sports was working with its Ministry of Education counterpart to restore Physical and Health Education in the school system.

The Governor disclosed that his administration “is setting up a Sports Academy at Nsulu in Isialangwa North to help develop those talented in sports.

Otti who said he was in talks with both local and foreign investors on how to develop sports in the state, solicited the partnership of public-spirited individuals and development partners to partner the state in sports development.

Otti predicted a brighter future for sports development in the state under his watch.

“What we have started with these games is a signal to what we want to do for the entire sports ecosystem in the State. We have recently developed a comprehensive sports development of grassroots sports development that would involve the development of sports infrastructure, training and exposure of talented athletes to life-changing opportunities and platforms.

“We are already in talks with local and foreign partners to commence the pilot phase of the programme which will see us build model sports centres in communities and urban neighbourhoods, where kids and teenagers with talents and interest in pursuing careers in sports would be taught the ropes by accomplished professionals through a structured programmes”.

Governor Otti urged the students involved in the competition to use the opportunity to showcase their abilities while warning against biased officiating.

He promised handsome rewards for the winners of the competition.

Speaking earlier, Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Nwaobilor Analaba, commended the Governor for his uncommon interest in sports development.

The Commissioner who described sports as a very lucrative career, said that the Governor had procured a lot of sporting equipment.

Speaking also, the State Director of Sports, Abia State Sports Council, Mr Obioma George, disclosed that the event was the first in history and thanked Governor Otti for his interest in sports.

“Since the creation of Abia State, this is the first time in the history of Abia State that secondary schools are converging in the capital city of Umuahia for the secondary schools’ games.

He disclosed that no fewer than 1,840 students would participate in the 24 different sporting events that would feature in the competition.


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