Nigeria at 61: Goodwill message by Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare

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Today, Friday, October 1, 2021, as Nigeria clocks 61 years of independence, It has been 61 years of remarkable journey characterised by challenges, struggles and triumphs.

As the Minister of Youth and Sports Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I pledge my loyalty to Nigeria and look to her future with hope and optimism.

As a Ministry, we have adopted a number of programmes specially designed to uplift our youth, and the good news is that these programmes are already yielding positive results.

Nigeria’s greatest natural resource is her youth. Only with deliberate, scalable investment in our youth can Nigeria become greater than she is today.

Our DEEL initiative which focuses on Digital Literacy and Skills Acquisition, Entrepreneurship, Employability and Leadership has led to some crucial breakthrough collaborations and partnerships with some technological giants and leading E-Commerce solutions platforms. These partnerships are guaranteed to get at least 200,000 youth trained and placed in Entrepreneurship by 2023. The Ministry’s Training into Enterprise continues to deliver results across the country. We appreciate many other Ministries, Departments and Agencies who also contribute to the training and empowerment of the youth in Nigeria.

A lot of our youth are being empowered through the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund(NYIF). Over 5,225 have benefited and recently over 20,000’have been screened and shortlisted for the final stage of training and funds disbursement.

In the area of sports development, youth oriented programmes like the ‘Adopt-an-Athlete’ and ‘Talent Hunt Program initiatives have been central to all our activities. These initiatives have led to podium finishes at the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games, as well as the World U-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya with Nigeria hauling 19 medals from these competitions. Just recently, the Nigeria women basket ball team, D’Tigress won the Afro Basketball Gold for the 3rd consecutive time making them the best women basketball team in Africa.

Many young talents in all sports have been identified, a lot more will be identified. These talents will be adopted, harnessed, supported, financed and exposed to the best facilities, coaching and training programmes possible so they can become world beaters in the near future.

As a Ministry, we have also embarked on an aggressive drive to upgrade our sporting facilities so that our sports men and women can utilise them optimally.

The national stadia in Lagos and Abuja have had the football pitches of their mainbowls regrassed; because we know that great talents can only be birthed in an enabling environment and our infrastructure is key to creating it.

In addition, towards ensuring that sports enthusiasts at the grassroots have access to quality sporting facilities, the football pitch of the Daura Township Stadium in Daura, Katsina State has been completely rehabilitated and boasts of having one of the most modern synthetic AstroTurf pitches in Nigeria.

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development also ensured the classification of sports as a business and not mere recreation.

We believe more glorious years are ahead for the Nigerian youth in all spheres of their endeavours.