Makinde Pledges To Support Emerging Talents in Sports

….says Oyo Ready to Host International Competitions

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has again declared his readiness to engage the state’s youth through sporting activities. This he said while hosting Ibadan-born holder of the World Boxing Federation’s Super Featherweight title, Ridwan Oyekola, (Scorpion) in Ibadan on Thursday.

Oyekola who defeated Argentine-Born boxer, Matias Montesino Lucas to win the WBF title fight held in Ibadan in December 2020 was received at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan with his entourage members of the Local Organizing Committee and other sports lovers.

A statement issued by the Special Assistant to the governor on Print Media, Moses Alao, asserted that the governor is determined to keep supporting emerging young talents as one of the ways to take them off the street.

Governor Makinde said: “Boxing has always been a treasured sport. I also believe that more world champions are going to be produced in Oyo State. This administration did not just decide to renovate Lekan Salami Stadium. We believe that it will be an avenue to bring up talents, give exposure to our youths. When I was campaigning, I did say then that youth restiveness needs to be tackled and sports is one of the vehicles we can utilize to do that.

“This is to show that if, as a youth, you can come up with your talent and follow it and we, as a government, can give you the necessary support, you can go places in the world.”

The governor congratulated Oyekola on his victory, stating that winning the WBF title will encourage more youths to pursue their dreams.

He pledged to support and encourage the new champion by promoting his dream, stating that Oyo state is now ready to host international games after the completion of the newly remodeled sport complex of the Lekan Salami Sport Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan.

In his words: “The on-going renovation at the Adamasingba Stadium is not just for the football pitch. That is not the only thing we are doing there. We are also going to revamp the entire place. I am looking forward to hosting another international boxing event there soon. I am also looking forward to the International Tennis Competition; both national and international being hosted out there.

The governor also commended the chairman of the Ilaji Hotels and Sport Resort, Engr. Dotun Sanusi, for his staunch commitment to promoting business and particularly sport development, Makinde reiterated his promise to work and partner with private individuals and company by creating a comfortable environment in a bid to stimulate business in the state

“I visited Ilaji Resort before my election and I want to appreciate my brother, Engineer Dotun Sanusi, for his commitment to both sport and business in Oyo State and I can give you the assurance that the state government, under my watch, will continue to partner with him”

“Now that we have been able to produce a world champion, what is next? This is just the beginning, I believe. Just as Nigeria produced Anthony Joshua in the heavyweight category, there is nothing that can stop us from repeating that. The only thing that can stop us is if we don’t give the opportunity to our talents; if we don’t support them. That is why we will remain grateful to everyone who has put all of these together.

The governor indicated the state’s readiness to host other states of the federation in the next sports festival. He also hinted that the state is looking forward to bidding for international sports activities.

“We are also looking forward to us bidding and successfully hosting a National Sports Festival very soon. The one for Edo State was postponed because of the pandemic but after this one, with our own facility, we will be ready to make a bid to host the festival and international Sport Activities.

“I also look forward to hosting matches majorly at nights in that facility. I told the guys to open that place up. Our darling Shooting Stars will have to play at nights, it will show that we are getting our acts together and we will also demonstrate that Ibadan and Oyo State is indeed secure for an international sporting competition.

He said: “I am pleased to place on record that Oyo State has always been at the forefront of leadership and facilitation of value-adding events. Barely two months of organization of this event, the state government, through the instrumentality of the governor, directed the SSG to inaugurate the LOC to commence and drive the process of organising this event.

“Today, all glory be to God. History has been made and the world title featherweight belt has been returned to the soil of Oyo State. Through this feat, we want Nigerian youths to draw inspiration from what Ridwan Scorpion has done.

Speaking at the event, the co-chairman of LOC, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo said the match was significant as it is a repetition ofthe historic fight which happened 57 years in the same city, where Nigeria’s Dick Tiger became the WBC Middleweight champion by knocking out America’s Gene Fullman in the seventh round.

Ladipo praised the Makinde led-administration for its efforts on youth development and the promotion of sports in the state.

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