The Minister for Youths and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has described Ilaji Hotels and Sports Center as a perfect paradigm shift for sports development in Nigeria.
Dare made this statement on Saturday while inspecting the sporting infrastructure at the Akanran-based Resort.
According to the Minister who also attended a retreat organised by the South West Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP) held at the Center, he noted that there has been a gradual shift from the perception that sport is mainly a tool of entertainment to a business oriented one, adding that for sports to fully develop in Nigeria compared to the way it is in the advance countries, there is need to develop the business aspect of it.
He added that his office in conjunction with the Sports Ministry has been working on a policy plan that will see Nigerian government taking a total departure from the perception of seeing sports as a means of entertainment alone.
In his words, “For a while now, I have been working along with the Sports Ministry on a policy which will see us developing the business model for sports in Nigeria because that is the only way sports can be fully maintained and developed.
“Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort is the exact model we have been developing for government. I must therefore laud the brain behind this fantastic place, in person of Chief Dotun Sanusi, for establishing a model for Sports development in Nigeria.
The Honourable Minister remarked that the only way sports can fully develop is to establish a new sports ecosystem that will support the athletes, improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and consequently improve our economy.
He further stated, “to implement this policy, there would be three ‘Is’ and one ‘P’; where the ‘Is’ stand for Infrastructure, Incentive and Investment while the P stands for Profit. To make the policy work, there has to be Infrastructural development while incentive will be given to the likes of Chief Dotun Sanusi’s company in form of tax relief and soft bank loans with very low interest rates.
“By doing this, we would have been able to attract investment from people like Ilaji Resort Boss in form of partnership. When all the aforementioned have been done, profit will definitely follow.”
Dare further disclosed that in United Kingdom for instance, they have a sports policy that has given rise to an investment to the tune of 38 billion pounds while Nigeria has a meagre 350 million naira worth of investment, he concluded.
Chief Dotun Sanusi, the Chairman of Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, in his remark urged the online journalists to put integrity first in everything they do saying that they should be builders of Nigeria and not destroyers.
Chief Sanusi further added that what Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort is created to change the narrative that sport is only a tool of entertainment, stressing that, if sport is well organised and proper structure is put in place along with the right investment, sports in Nigeria will be a money spinning investment.
“I want to implore the journalists present to contribute their own quota to the development of Nigeria and to support the laudable programme the Honourable Minister has highlighted. I also want to use this medium to assure the Honourable Minister that we are ready for any form of partnership that will bring about the development of sports in Nigeria.
Judging from the infrastructural facilities we have been able to put in place here at Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, we have the capacity to host any of the national football teams or sporting athletes prior to any competition they want to go for.