The golden era of Ogun State as a leading sports state in Nigeria will be enacted as Iseya Sports Initiative (ISI) is planning to rekindle grassroots sports developmental projects across the state.
The move according to the ISI is aimed at bringing back the lost glory of the cradle of sports in the South -West and Nigeria at large having produced notable athletes that had represented the country in various international competitions.
This was made known during media briefing held on Saturday in Abeokuta to intimate the sports loving Ogun people about the new dawn that is about to set in the Gateway State.
In attendance at the event were Justice George Shoremi, Honorary Patron of ISI; Professor Dipo Oduye, the Honorary Patron and Chairman Incorporated Board of Trustee of ISI; Dr. Bolatito Adeniji; Chief Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo.
Others were Dr. Paul Bankole, 1st Vice Chairman of the Board, as well as CEO, Management Board of the ISI; Hon. Olamide Lawal, Special Assistant on Youth and Sports to Governor Dapo Abiodun, also serves as 2nd Vice Chairman of the ISI BOT; Dr. Ademola Makanjuola; Dr. Foluso Olusegun Onagoruwa and host of others.
Speaking on the way forward for sports development in the state, Justice Shoremi advocated for s strong sports council that would solely be overseeing the affairs of sports in Ogun State, noting that sports commission is the best option.
He added that having sports commission would make administration of sports to be functional while their Directors would no longer be tools in the hands of the Ministry of Sports as currently being experienced.
On his part, Prof. Oduye recalled how ISI was initiated about four months ago clamoured that sports should be taken away from government, while urging the ministry of youth and sports as well as sports council officials to brace up in their responsibilities.
Also, he revealed that ISI was formed to catch them young across the nooks and crannies, adding that Ogun State has the largest number of industries in Nigeria whereby they could allocate just two or more percentage of their profits for sports development in the state.
Moreover, Dr. Bankole listed several benefits that the state would likely derived by the period that ISI swings into full blown action across the state.
“The group represented professional stakeholders and technocrats from academia, various sporting associations and grassroots communities in the state. It comprises of veterans, retired and active sports administrators, Olympians, coaches, supporters and thespians of Ogun State arts and culture, who has decided to strategically contribute to sports business and sports development, using scientific and technological global best methodologies.
“We have decided to unobstrusively facilitate a new wave of divine scientific inspired sports mechanism that will amongst other things take millions of our children, teenagers, youth and young adults away from the streets, drugs and cultism.
“Create massive job opportunities as stated in our aims and objectives. Serves as the thread with which to seamlessly strengthen the Remo, Ijebu, Yewa and Egba (RIYE) united web. Restore Ogun State lost glory in national and international major sporting events.
“Our theme is anchored on the core values of sports such as honour, legacy, honesty, respect, tolerance, forgiveness, love, hard work, team work, among others. A good name is more precious than wealth. A secured and credible future in sports, devoid of any form of immorality is better than a million gold medals,” he opined.
Meanwhile, Hon. Lawal said: “The whole concept is to contribute to development of sports in Ogun, and it is in line with the vision of Governor Dapo Abiodun to always create enabling environment for public private partnership.
“And if you look at the whole concept is bringing up experienced persons in sports most especially veterans that people thought to have retired, but still have more values to add to sports development. They are able to relate with corporate organisations to get sponsors and not relying on government.
The whole concept is an initiative that arose from my Office and Dr Bankole when it was in the process of fulfilling the objectives of my office. To make sure we have a robust sporting activities in the state.
And I believe that sports is one of the tools to address many social vices in our state and also we have lots of facilities that are not being utilised by athletes because people are beginning to lose interest in sports.
That is why we decided to come together and to find a way to that, even outside government, we can make something happening. Everything must not depend on government. That is the reason for ISI, and why my office and as a person have been involved in it. It is a non governmental project.”