By Jacob Ajom
Executive governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola has charged the National Sports Commission and the various state sports ministries to use the National Sports Festival as a harvest ground for talents.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony of icons of the 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos yesterday, the governor recalled with nostalgia the emergence of youth talents from past festivals who grew up to become national heroes and heroines in the nation’s sporting history.
“I can only feel happy if we can use the sports festival to discover and nurture new Chioma Ajunwas, Mary Onyalis, Pat Ekejis, Henry Nwosus, the Okochas and others like them who were products of the national sports festivals. Only then can we justify our hosting the games,” the governor said.
He charged Nigerian sports administrators to part from the past and prepare for events. “We must stop expecting miracles from God. I know he is a miracle working God but He is also a just God. We must vote for the renaissance of the national sports festival because at 18, the games have come of age,” the governor whose birthday coincided with the event said.
Speaking earlier, the minister of sports and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Bolaji Abdullahi said the unveiling of the games logo, website and mascot will enhance the sensitization of Nigerians on the games.
The minister thanked the Local Organising Committee for the excellent organisation of the unveiling ceremony and expressed optimism that Lagos would serve as a perfect host.
The Games logo is the popular Eyo masquerade, while the mascot has the Eagle as the main feature.