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Ifeanyi Ubah, Bianca Ojukwu, Dalung attend Thanos’ Sports Colloquium in Nnewi

History was made in Nnewi on the 30th of November 2019, when the first-ever Sports Colloquium in Nigeria, the Thanos’ Sports Colloquium, took place at the Martina Plaza, Nnewi.

This year’s edition tagged ‘A Model For Sports Development in Nigeria’ featured heavyweights in the Sports industry like Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah (biggest Sports investor in Nigeria and President of FC Ifeanyi Ubah) as the Chairman of the occasion, Hon Barr Solomon Dalung (the former Minister of Youth and Sports Development) as the keynote speaker, Her Excellency, Amb Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu (former Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Spain) as Special Guest Speaker and Coach Maureen Mmadu (FIFA Hall of Fame Holder, Nigeria Woman Hall of Fame Holder, Ex Nigeria international, Former Super Falcons Coach and Player). Also at the event were members of the Anambra State Football Association (ANSFA), the Iyom Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu Media (IBOM), Mr Onyebuchi Nwabufo (a banker), Sir Dr John Ugochukwu (a renowned Medical Doctor), Lady Dr Ego Ugochukwu (former Director, Pharmaceutical Services of Anambra State), Coach Fanny Amun (Former Golden Eaglets Manager and Sports Consultant) as special guests.

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The Chairman of the Colloquium, Senator Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah presented a paper on the ‘Role of Government Policies in Sports Development’ as his Opening Remark

Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah said that Government political will could change the narrative in sports if sports policies are geared towards achieving a rightful direction. He insisted that the Legislature is focused on making laws that will make sports self-funding instead of total reliance on the Federal and State Governments. Ebubechukwu Uzo as he is fondly called, also stressed that fund leakages through acclaimed stakeholders will further discourage investors if public officials are not held accountable

The keynote speaker at the event, Hon Barr Solomon Dalung, spoke on the title: Causes, Effects and Remedies of Corruption in Nigeria Sports.

The immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports Development said that corruption in sports has been treated with strict measure at the IOC, FIFA and CAF levels, with references to incidence against Papa Diack of Athletics from Senegal and Joseph Blatter of FIFA who were punished for corruption charges. The reverse is the case for worst cases established against the present executive board of the NFF. Though a convincing case of corruption has been alleged against the NFF hierarchy but until date, it has been evasive tactics to circumvent the law instead if making themselves available to face the realities on ground. He also said that the alleged corruption cases in sports exist through some known intentions for authorities to commit multiple budgeting with subheads, with duplications of figures for events which funds have already been provided for by the lOC, FIFA and CAF, from the Federal Government, State Governors, Local Government Chairmen, Corporate Entities, Notable Individuals and foreign investors for same event. There is also the case of the very evasive nature of the Sports Federations to retirement of the given monies, under the guise of interference, when questions are asked yet Government sponsorship is in multiple ways from budgetary to government-corporate sponsorship and political will in the course of every event. He concluded by saying that every public office holder offers himself willingly for service and must also willingly make himself available for justice to take its rightful course to probity

The former Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Spain, Her Excellency, Ambassador Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu also presented a paper on ‘Sports and Foreign Investments in Nigeria’

Ambassador Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu insisted that Government and public office holders, have the political will to convince and attract foreign investors that this great nation of Nigeria, has an enabling environment to accommodate projects like in sports in Nigeria. Such was the effort made in her capacity as the Nigeria Ambassador to Spain, in convincing Real Madrid Football Club of Spain, to sight an academy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State

Highlights of the night was the cutting of the event cake and award presentation.

The awards and awardees at the Thanos’ Sports Colloquium are viz:

Senator Dr Ifeanyi Ubah was conferred the title of IDE EGWUREGWU

Her Excellency, Amb Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu was conferred the title UGO EJI EJE MBA EGWUREGWU

Hon Barr Solomon Dalung was conferred the title of DIKE EGWUREGWU

Coach Maureen Mmadu was conferred the title of IJELE ANAMBRA

Sir Dr John Ugochukwu was conferred the title EZIAFAKAEGO

Thanos’ Sports Colloquium is a yearly Sports event which holds to discuss, analyse and handle every issue bedevilling the state of Sports in Nigeria, as well as celebrating those who have contributed positively towards the development of Sports

Thanos’ Sports Colloquium is founded by an Nnewi born and based Sports and Media Consultant, Ugochukwu ‘Thanos’ Ifeanyi who is the first African to make a live appearance on Fanzone in London (an English Premier League Sports magazine owned by IMG studios with is broadcast globally), a legendary Sports Presenter/Analyst, a media aide to H.E. Ambassador Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu and the former Senior Special Assistant on Sports to Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah

Ugochukwu ‘Thanos’ Ifeanyi advises all Nigerians to implement the suggestions proffered at the Colloquium in order to improve and develop Sports in Nigeria. He also expressed his gratitude at the resource persons and promised that the next instalment of the Colloquium will be bigger and better.

This year’s event was sponsored by Capital Oil and Gas, Authority FM, IBOM, Pixer Visuals, TaiHoz Media and Innoson Manufacturing Nigeria Limited.

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