The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has stressed the need to encourage youths at the grass root level through the provision of functional sporting facilities and equipment at both primary and secondary schools in the state.
Governor Dickson also urged the youths to participate actively and take keen interest in sports as a way of promoting healthy living as well as a source of youth empowerment.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, Governor Dickson stated this at the 2013 Olympic Day Celebration, which had earlier featured 10, 5 and 2 kilometre races along the Chief Melford Okilo highway between Opolo junction and the Samson Siasia Stadium in the State Capital.
The Governor called on individuals and corporate bodies to assist government in developing sports to place Bayelsa at the apex of the sporting arena at national and international levels
According to him, the establishment of the senatorial sports stadia by the present administration was to revive sports at the local government level and help address problems such as unemployment and youths restiveness.
Governor Dickson, who observed that the state ought to have comparative advantage in swimming considering its riverine nature, decried the inability of the state to produce world class athletes in that area.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner of Sports Development, Chief Mitema Obodor, commended Governor Dickson for consistently demonstrating its commitment to sports development especially his approval of the establishment of local government sports committees, which among others is to sensitize the people at the grass root level on the need to encourage and participate regularly in sporting activities.
Commenting on the U-17 Youth Games scheduled for Abuja later in the year, the Commissioner said preparations by the state contingent are in top gear and expressed optimism that with the support of the government, the athletes would make the state proud.
In his remarks, President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, said the Olympic Day Celebration was a day set aside to bring the value of sports to sensitize people on sports all over the world as regards youth development and empowerment.
Represented by Mrs. Deborah Chidiobi, Mr. Rogge noted that Nigeria is recognized as one of the sporting nations of the world.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of certificates to Governor Seriake Dickson, the deputy Governor, Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, Speaker of the State House of Assembly and former Deputy Governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi as well as presentation of a cash award of N50,000 to the Commissioner of Transport, Mrs. Marie Ebikake by the Ministry of Sports for starting and finishing the 10 kilometre section of the race.
The theme of this year’s celebration was, “Fitness For Life.”
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State