Traditional ruler urges Soludo to fund sports sufficiently, support private sector
Igwe Max Ike-Oliobi, the traditional ruler of Nimo, Njikoka Local Government of Anambra, has called on Gov. Chukwuma Soludo to match his manifesto on sports with requisite funding in the interest of youths in the state.
Ike-Oliobi made the plea when he received in his palace, Patrick-Estate Onyedum, Chairman, Anambra State Sports Development Commission (ASDC), and his management.
Our correspondent reports that Onyedum was in Nimo on tour of select secondary schools with sports facilities that could be used to develop the budding talents in the area.
He also visited All Sports Foundation Nimo (ASFAN), an academy owned and managed by Johnny Igboka, a veteran national High Jumper and Head Coach of Anambra Athletics Team.
Ike-Oliobi said sports was crucial to the development and economic emancipation of the child and as such, deserved every attention it could get from the government.
He commended Igboka for his passion and what he had been able to do for youths through sports and ASFAN in the past 25 years.
He called on the state government to support the academy with sports facilities.
“We are happy that government of Prof. Charles Soludo has remembered us, we are happy for your visit because as a community and individual, we have been doing a lot to help our youths get a life through sports.
“Coach Johnny Igboka has done a lot, in a normal society, he should not be here because he has single handedly been training and producing world champions.
“He goes cap in hand begging people to support his programmes, and some of them have been donating money and food items.
“I want to beg Gov. Soludo to support academies like this because he has a good plan for sports and with a true sportsman like you, Anambra will go back to the days of glory.
“All I ask is that the governor should provide the funds to implement these good ideas for this academy,” he said.
Onyedum and his team were also conducted around the sports facilities of St. Michael Secondary School Nimo by its Manager, Rev. Fr. Dennis Nwabueze, who called on the government to help develop the school’s sports ground.
Nwabueze said the school placed high premium on sports and had been consistent in the discovery and mentoring of champions.
Onyedum had earlier visited Community Secondary School, Isuofia in Aguata, LGA, where he promised to help the school put its facilities which included handball court, volleyball court, basketball court, football and athletics fields in good use.
He also inspected facilities at Austica Memorial School, Nanka, promising that some deserving schools would be adopted as centres of sporting excellence to serve as training grounds for potential stars.
“It is good to know that some schools have put facilities in place; as a government, we shall build on them and help them with technical manpower as well as activities.
“Gov. Soludo has said that we must get it right in sports and that we have to start from the scratch, that is why we are looking at what the schools and communities are doing.
“I am really impressed with what i have seen so far. We shall work with them in our grassroots sports development agenda,” he said.
Onyedum further said that the Commission planned to hold the Anambra Schools Sports Festival in the second quarter of the year.
He noted that exceptional athletes stood a chance of winning scholarship at the national and international levels.