By Monsur Olowoopejo
LAGOS — President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, stressed the need for Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship in their daily activities, saying “this is the only way we can build an enduring society that we all aspired to have.”
Jonathan who declared the 18th Sports Festival, tagged Eko 2012, closed at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos said the spirit of sportmanship demonstrated by the athletes at the games had shown that sports was vital to the unity and development of the country.
According to the President, who was represented by the Minister of Sports and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, “I want to urge Nigerians to demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship in their daily endeavours.”
He, however, urged the state governments to include the festival in their yearly calendar, as this would create room for adequate preparation before the festival.
Governor of the host state, Babatunde Fashola decried the one-year notice given to the Main Organising Committee, (MOC) for the preparation of the game.
Fashola explained that the previous hosts were given three years whileLagoswas given one year to prepare for the festival that involves athletes from all the states.
He said: “Despite the short notice, we have organised one of the best festivals in recent times. What this has shown is that if we seriously commit ourselves to anything in this country, we will achieve it.”
The governor noted that the 2012 festival had helped to revive the aim of the event which was to discover talents that would represent the country in global events.
He noted: “The ultimate issue that concerns me as this festival comes to a close is about the new athletes that were discovered through this festival. After today, we must work to ensure that they are nurtured to compete with their peers in the next Olympics representing their fatherland and not other countries.”
Chairman of the Main Organising Committee, (MOC), Dr. Patrick Ekeji lamented the use of banned substances by athletes competing at the festival.