Following the recent cult battles in Ogun state, chairman of the state’s chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has advised the government to use sport in combating cultism and other social vices in the state.
Comrade Michael Ogunsiji gave the advice on Wednesday when he led members of his association on a courtesy visit to the office of the state’s Commissioner for Sports Development, Wasiu Isiaka in Abeokuta.
He urged the commissioner to revive the Principal’s Cup, Governor’s Cup, and other sporting competitions to keep youths engaged in productive pursuits.
The SWAN chairman while bemoaning the lack of sports funding, asked the government to establish a football academy alongside private investors in order to identify and develop future talent.
“The youths would love to see the glamorous and the glorious Principal’s cup come back to live. We want you to revive it and other sporting events. These competitions usually bring everybody, particularly youths together.
“Sporting events like this could be used to engage youths positively and disabuse their mind from engaging in cultism and other social vices.
“Students that are engaged in sports and other extracurricular activities will not have time to engage in criminal activities.
“Besides, these sporting events will also serve as a veritable platforms for discovery and grooming of young stars who be useful for the state and country at large.
“ Football alone is a multi billion sector in the world if we want to make money in sport, the state government has to invest first before we can say we want to make money and to make money after investing it would take about three or four years so please help is look into this to see how we can create an atmosphere to search, recruit and tap from our young ones out their who engage in street football.
Responding, the commissioner stated that the ministry had done everything possible to facilitate the elevation of the state-owned Gateway Football club from the Nigeria National League (NNL) to the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL).
Isiaka pointed out that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s agreement to host the National Sports Festival demonstrated his intentions for the state’s sports industry.
He added that the ministry will release a road map for the growth of sports in the state in a few weeks, per the governor’s direction.
The SWAN chairman however noted that the government, in order to support the state’s athletic endeavours should restore the abandoned Muda Lawal stadium.