By Odimayo Olatunde
The Executive Chairman, Idah Local Government Area of Kogi State Abuh Odoma has restated its commitment to partner with the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN), towards developing raw talents in the state.
Odoma disclosed this on Monday when the State Executive of SWAN paid him a courtesy visit in Idah.
He stressed that sports remains a unifying factor in the country noting that the local government has produced many talents that have made the state and the country proud.
The Idah Local Government boss lauded SWAN for its roles in promoting sports in the state adding that, before he assumed office, the level of insecurity was very high in Idah Local Government.
He thanked Governor Yahaya Bello for providing an enabling environment for him to thrive adding that, the Governor deserved commendation for the safety of of lives and properties in Kogi State.
According to him, “Fighting insecurity is not an easy task. We must commend our amiable Governor for providing an enabling environment for the citizens to go about their daily activities.
“When there is peace and security, sport development will be at its peak. Am very delighted to receive this great individuals who are ready to change the narratives of the past about Kogi State through Sport.
“It is imperative to note that, when we engage our youths in sporting activities, it will reduce all form of social vices such as kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, and many more. I must commend Kogi SWAN for this bold step and am assuring you that I will support the association with all my capacity towards discovering raw talents in Idah Local Government and Kogi State in general”.
Odoma maintained that his administration will sustain sports development in Idah Local Government, just as he assured that he will continue to partner with the association to move the state forward.
Speaking earlier, the State Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN), Bishop Aturu while thanking the Chairman for the warm reception in Idah lauded him for his immense contribution in safe guarding lives and properties in the Local Government.
Aturu also stated that Idah Local Government has brought many talents to limelight in Kogi State, hence the need for the Executive Chairman to sustain the effort in making the Local Government a hub for talents discovery, to represent the State at both national and international competitions.
He specifically mentioned Handball as one of the sports the Local Government has continued to carve a niche for itself in the country, adding that the recent promotion of Kogi State to the prudent handball league was products of players from Idah Local Government.
He assured his host that if the body would organise a handball competition, Idah Local Government would be the host.
Aturu however intimated the Chairman that SWAN has concluded plans to host a maiden open championship in Idah Local Government which will allow schools and indigenes of the area to participate in sporting activities such as wrestling, swimming, boxing, athletics, judo, footballs, handball, amongst others.
He maintained that one way the youths could be empowered is through sport, explaining further that, SWAN is coming up with an investiture later in the year where critical stakeholders from far and near will come together and discuss the way forward for sports development in Kogi State.
Also speaking, the immediate past Chairman of SWAN in Kogi State Mr Onalo Mamud said the association is known for promoting sporting activities across the 36 States of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, adding that the body is in his Local Government to solicit his support by using his good office to promote the activities of SWAN in Kogi State.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the State Assistant Secretary of SWAN Odimayo Olatunde and a member of the association Godwin Wambebe, sport reporter with radio Kogi.