By ABIODUN JIMOH, ABEOKUTA
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has described sports as a veritable tool for unity in which his administration would use to rebrand the state.
Governor Abiodun hereby promised that his administration would support all sporting endeavours in the state, and with the sole aim of making Ogun State the best sporting state in Nigeria.
He made this remark at the JAC Motors Abeokuta 10km Marathon Race organised by Nilayo Sports Management, whereby over a hundred local and foreign athletes took part at the event.
He said: “We have collaborated with the organiser of the event, own by our brother, former Commissioner for Sports, Hon. Bukola Olapade, because we believe that when we participate actively in sports. It gives us the avenue to live a healthy life, we also believe that sports cut across all boundaries.
“It is something that bind all of us together, it is a unifying factor. It cut across all cultures, religion and political affiliations. Today, there is no political party, no religion, we are all one, one big family.
“We are going to supports sports everywhere. We are going to be an administration that will be characterised by taking sports to the next level and through sports, we are going to rebrand this state.”
However, the governor used the occasion to thank the organisers for bringing in foreign athletes to participate in the marathon, thereby opening up the socio economic activities of the state. Adding that the upcoming Remo Marathon will have the full support of his administration.
Speaking earlier with journalists at the sideline of the event, the CEO of Nilayo Sports management, Hon. Olopade expressed happiness and emotional at bringing the race to his home state.
“I am more encouraged by the turn out of youths who participated in the race. The State is the first to host such a race in Nigeria, and I want to thank the state government for putting machinery in place for the success of the event,” he said.
Also speaking, President, International Association of Ultra-Runners, Mr. Nadeem Khan, acknowledged Nigerians’ enthusiasm and love for sports, saying that the Abeokuta event was the biggest marathon race to be staged in Africa.
In the same vein, President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, lauded the state for accepting to host the marathon, stating that sports promote healthy living and a source of income to the professionals.
Meanwhile, an Olympian, Mrs. Falilat Ogunkoya on her part stated that the state was blessed with renowned sportsmen and women, while she appreciated the government for taking steps to revive sports in the state.