…Receives FIFA President, Secretary General, CAF President In Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday evening said that the State has the capacity to host international football tournaments and use sports as a tool to showcase its rich tourism, hospitality and entertainment culture.
Governor Ambode, who spoke when he received the President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Gianni Infantino and his team on a courtesy visit to the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, said the population, soccer enthusiasm and the tourism potentials that abound in the State are indicators to the fact that the State has the enabling environment to receive any FIFA projects in Nigeria.
The Governor, while welcoming the choice of Lagos as the host city of the FIFA Executive Committee Summit, said it would present a great opportunity for the State to showcase its huge investment in football development especially for youths and women.
He also expressed confidence that the FIFA President and his team, after the visit, would consider Lagos favourably to host a FIFA competition, while also pledging support for events by the world’s football governing body.
“I want to say that we are so excited that Lagos is playing host to the FIFA Executive Summit, we would be the second African city that would be hosting this kind of meeting and we are excited that you decided that Lagos would host it.
“It is very important for us because soccer is big in Lagos and we are able to show you the kind of facilities and things that football can actually do to us as a nation. I believe strongly that your hosting this meeting in Lagos portends greater potentials for us in Lagos; we are very strong on youth development and youth soccer development and also soccer development for women.
“I believe as you decide tomorrow and then days after on where you intend to put your projects, Lagos stands to welcome all the projects of FIFA. We have the population, the enthusiasm and we also have the tourism potentials to actually receive any FIFA projects in Nigeria,” Governor Ambode said.
Besides, Governor Ambode thanked Infantino for deeming it fit to select a retired Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayotunde Philips as a member of the Ethics Committee of FIFA, saying that it was a testament to the State’s credibility.
“I want to personally thank you for selecting one of our retired Chief Judges, Justice Philips into the Ethics Committee of FIFA and that happens to be one of the most important committees in FIFA and I believe strongly that for us to have produced one of those members goes to show how credible that we can be in Lagos,” he said.
Governor Ambode who also spoke at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF/Aiteo) Awards held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, said that partnering with the NFF for the hosting of the award was also a privilege to showcase the Lagos as the emerging sports hub for Africa.
“What we are saying to the world through these partnerships and our other sports programs like the Lagos City Marathon, International Table Tennis Federation Nigeria Open, the Lagos International Sports Classics in Squash Racquet, Badminton and Taekwondo is that Lagos is ready to host the world; and use sports as a tool to showcase our rich tourism, hospitality and entertainment culture,” he said.
While wishing the FIFA delegation a successful execution of the World Cup scheduled to hold later in the year, Governor Ambode expressed optimism that the Super Eagles of Nigeria could spring surprises and emerge winners of the biggest soccer fiesta.
Earlier, the FIFA President said he was in Lagos with his team, not only for the FIFA Executive Committee Summit, but also to discuss with the NFF on the possibility of developing some projects in the country.
He commended Governor Ambode for his administration’s investment in the development of football, describing it as excellent.
“It is for me a pleasure and honour to be here today in Lagos to meet you; I know you are a great football fan. You’re more than a football fan, a lover of football and that’s why I needed the meeting to hold in Lagos.
“We are here on one side to discuss with NFF a few projects on Nigeria football and how we can work together with CAF as well to improve football, even though you don’t need it because your football is already excellent, but one can always try and do something more and other projects we would discuss with the Nigerian FA. In addition to this, I would like to thank you for welcoming us for the FIFA Executive Committee Summit,” he said.
Infantino who was accompanied by the Secretary General of FIFA, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura and CAF President, Mr. Ahmad Ahmad said the Summit, which would bring on Tuesday, February 20, would feature top executives and General Secretaries from 15 to 20 Football Associations from Europe, North America, Central America and also Africa adding that it was part of FIFA’s new democratic system to discuss with stakeholders on the future of global football.
…Says Funding Of Sports Shouldn’t Be Government’s Exclusive Preserve
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday identified the importance of collaboration of key stakeholders to achieve the desired goal for sports administration and development in the country, saying funding of sports should not be the exclusive preserve of government.
Speaking at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja when he inaugurated the new boards of the Lagos State Sports Commission and the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund, Governor Ambode emphasized the need for the private sector to partner with the government to invest in sports development especially in training talents that abound in the country, as well as putting necessary infrastructures in place.
He said: “I want to reiterate our commitment to the Sports sector and the need for collaboration between the government and all sports stakeholders in the State.
“In achieving our vision in Sports, it is our belief that the funding of sports should not be the responsibility of Government alone. This informed the establishment of the Sports Trust Fund whose mandate is primarily to interface with the private and public sectors to raise funds for sports development.
“Funds raised through the Sports Trust Fund would be utilized for various aspects of sports development on the recommendation and advice of the Sports Commission.”
On the other hand, the State Sports Commission is charged with the responsibility of upgrading and maintaining various sports facilities, developing strategic plans for sports development in the State, identifying and creating new locations for development of community sports facilities, overseeing the activities of all the sports associations in the State, grassroot sports development as well as capacity building for sports administrators, sports officers, coaches and athletes.
Speaking further, the Governor said the inauguration of the new boards of both agencies was part of the grand plan of positioning Lagos as one of the top sports destinations in Africa, saying that the vision of his administration remained to make the State as the hub for sports, tourism and entertainment and leveraging on the interconnectivity within the three sectors.
While maintaining the capacity of sports to put the State on global map, Governor Ambode said the recently concluded Lagos Marathon had already received international recognition and would soon be regarded as a major event in the world athletic calendar, assuring that with more of such sports events, government would engage more youths, produce more star athletes and create a synergy with sports, tourism, entertainment and hospitality, thereby using the sectors to grow the economy and serving as a tool for youth empowerment and development.
Governor Ambode, who expressed optimism in the abilities of the new boards to deliver on the mandate, said the members were carefully selected based on their proven integrity, professionalism, commitment and passion for sports.
He specifically tasked the new boards to focus on even development of sporting infrastructures across the State, hosting of national and international sporting events and participation in national and international sporting events in order to expose athletes and coaches in the State to international standards and best practices.
While the Trust Fund is chaired by a former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mr Femi Pedro, the Lagos State Sports Commission is to be headed by seasoned sports administrator, Dr Kweku Adedayo Tandoh.
Other members of the Trust Fund are Olaposi Agunbiade (Executive Secretary), Dr Enitan Oshodi, Oladipo Awe, Adekoyejo Adejumo, Segun Odusanya, Akindele Ogunlana, Kweku Tandoh, Babatunde Bank-Anthony, Moyosore Ogunseinde, Professor Ademola Abass, Fola Padonu and Omolola Essien.
Members of the Sports Commission are Babatunde Bank-Anthony (Director General), Olaposi Agunbiade (Executive Secretary), Gboyega Edu, Toyin Okenla-Ojeaga, Prince Fatai Olukunga, Abdulazeez Tijani, Babatunde Fatayi-Williams, Oluseyi Akinwunmi, Bolaji Adeniji-Adele and Gbenga Kuye.
Responding on behalf of the appointees, Pedro thanked Governor Ambode for the opportunity to serve the State, assuring that the members would deliver and perform far beyond expectations.
We have just witnessed the inauguration of the Governing Boards of the Lagos State Sports Commission and the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund in accordance with the enabling Laws.
These two Agencies, whose activities are complimentary to one another, are saddled with the responsibility of positioning our State as one of the top sports destinations in the continent.
Our vision is to make our State a hub for sports, tourism and entertainment and leveraging on the interconnectivity within the three sectors.
We believe strongly that Sports can put the State on the Global Map. The recently concluded Lagos Marathon has already received international recognition and will soon be regarded as a major event in the world athletic calendar.
With more sports events like the Lagos Marathon, we will engage more youths, produce more star athletes and create a synergy with sports, tourism, entertainment and hospitality; growing our economy and serving as a tool for youth empowerment and development.
As a result, these two Governing Councils which have just been inaugurated have a huge responsibility on their shoulders.
The State Sports Commission is charged with the responsibility of upgrading and maintaining our various sports facilities, developing strategic plans for sports development in the State, identifying and creating new locations for development of community sports facilities, overseeing the activities of all the sports associations in the State, grassroot sports development as well as capacity building for sports administrators, sports officers, coaches and athletes.
I want to reiterate our commitment to the Sports sector and the need for collaboration between the government and all sports stakeholders in the State.
In achieving our vision in Sports, it is our belief that the funding of sports should not be the responsibility of Government alone. This informed the establishment of the Sports Trust Fund whose mandate is primarily to interface with the private and public sectors to raise funds for sports development.
Funds raised through the Sports Trust Fund would be utilized for various aspects of sports development on the recommendation and advice of the Sports Commission.
With the sensitive and strategic nature of the responsibilities of these agencies, in constituting the Governing Boards of both Agencies, we have carefully selected men and women of proven integrity, professionalism, commitment and passion for sports and I have no doubt that they will deliver on their respective agency mandates.
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund is a former Deputy Governor of our State, His Excellency, Otunba Olufemi Pedro, while Dr Kweku Adedayo Tandoh is the Chairman Lagos State Sports Commission.
I am very confident in your abilities to deliver our objectives in the Sports sector. I urge you all to focus on the even development of Sporting Infrastructures across the State, hosting of national and international Sporting events and participation in National and International Sporting Events in order to expose our Athletes and Coaches to international standards and best practices.
I thank all our members and Chairmen for agreeing to serve our State and as we look forward to a new dawn in Sports administration in the State, I assure you of the support of our government always.
Itesiwaju Ipile Eko lo je wa logun
Governor of Lagos State,