The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday said that the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) has shown that every part of Nigeria is valuable.
He stated this at the Presidential Villa while receiving the games’ torch of unity, recalling the exploits of great athletes discovered at previous editions of the competition.
“Indeed, the socio-economic value of the NUGA games is not lost on us. For years, the Nigerian University Games Association has not only provided a space that allows us see the value that every part of the country has to offer, it has also provided a platform for the discovery and honing of individual sporting talent, many of whom have gone on to represent Nigeria successfully on the world stage,” the Vice President was quoted as saying via a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
“We encourage the athletes who will be competing this year and representing their respective universities to do so proudly and in true sportsmanship. This is only a prelude to bigger achievements and greater laurels for yourselves and for Nigeria.”
He also recalled the achievements of some athletes discovered at the games.
“Going through Nigeria’s sporting history and almost everywhere we have excelled on the global stage, you will find athletes whose talents were nurtured in our universities and given a competitive boost by NUGA at one time or the other.
“The now legendary Nigerian goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who we fondly remember for his role in leading the Super Eagles to victory in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, and who in his prime was considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world, was once a university athlete and a proud product of NUGA’s talent pipeline.
“Olusoji Fasoba, who won 100 meters gold, running for the Obafemi Awolowo University at NUGA many years ago, eventually went on to anchor Nigeria’s bronze medal win in the 4 x 100 meters relay race at the 2004 Olympic Games, and until recently, was the African record holder in the 100 meters.
“And, of course, there is Olabisi Afolabi, the famed NUGA alumnus from Ilorin, who helped Nigeria to a silver medal in the 4 x 400 meters at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the highlight of a very successful athletic career, which included gold at the World Junior Championships in 1994, silver at the 1999 All-Africa Games, and bronze at the 1995 All-Africa Games,” he added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, reiterated the commitment of the Ministry towards providing opportunities for young Nigerians to excel in their chosen disciplines, including sports, commending the support of the Vice President for youth and related issues.(Channels TV)
•PHOTO: Yemi Osinbajo