How I will use sports to engage the younger generation — Akeredolu

As part of efforts to move Ondo State forward and reduce restiveness among youths in the state, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has unveiled plans on how he will adequately reposition the sports sector in the state for proper and productive engagement of the younger generation, emphasising that the state will soon have a Tiger Woods. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE reports.

 

The governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has over the years emphasised that his vision for the state includes getting the youths actively engaged and had stated that sports is one of the means by which he will achieve this.  He reiterated that his determination towards this goal remains unchanged, during activities marking his second term inauguration as governor of the state.

Last weekend, Akeredolu gave a blueprint of how he will use sports to engage youths during a golf tournament tagged ‘Aketi Second Term Inauguration Golf Tournament,’ organised and sponsored by some group of people identified as “friends of Aketi”.

At the event which was held on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at the Smoking Hills and Resort, Ilaramokin, Ifedore Local Government Area of the state and was attended by 10 golf clubs across Nigeria, sports enthusiasts and dignitaries from all walks of life, the governor revealed his intention, highlighting sports as one of the most effective ways to divorce youths from restiveness.

Speaking while teeing off at the flag-off of the tournament, Akeredolu said the Ilaramokin Golf Resort, owned by the chairman of Elizade Group of Companies, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, is of great importance to the state because sports will be meaningfully and purposefully used to develop the state, especially the younger generation, in his second term.

He explained that his administration has achieved a lot in terms of creating landmark infrastructural projects which has changed the architectural landscape and economic development of the state but is now set to touch on other sectors, especially sports.

He said, “Let me reiterate the desire of this administration to ensure adequate repositioning of the sports sector in the state to ensure proper and productive engagement of the younger generation. This administration understands the importance of the youths as they are critical and vital to nation building, I am more than determined to ensure that they are given all the necessary and much needed platform to discover themselves and make themselves useful for the society.

“To be very clear and explicit, the game of golf is one of the fastest growing games in the world, we are delighted to witness tremendous growth in golf in Ondo State over the last few years. There are numerous economic benefits that come with the game and we are poised to leverage on this to boost the economic lot of the state. People focus on footballers alone whereas most other sports players are richer than footballers. Tiger Woods is worth $900Million, Arnold Palmer is worth $700million, Greg Norman’s worth is $500miilion.

“The people of Sagamu in Ogun State are proud of Anthony Joshua, even though he grew up in the United Kingdom, he is their son. By the grace of God, and with the support of all my friends who organised this event at no cost to the state government, Ondo State will produce a Tiger Woods very soon,” he said.

In his opening remarks, the chairman of the Aketi 2021 Golf Tournament, Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade (retd), stated that the tournament wouldn’t have been held but for the proactive approach of the governor in fighting crimes in the state.

Alade, who described Governor Akeredolu as a fearless and honest man, said he possessed rare qualities which have made him a rallying point for the progressives, adding that “Aketi has become a phenomenon. He’s fearless and honest. It’s a rare quality. He’s a rallying point for the progressives. He represents the hope of many Nigerians.”

The captain of the Smoking Hills Golf course, Engr. Gboye Adegbenro, said Governor Akeredolu is piloting the affairs of the state to a greater height.

Prominent golf clubs in Nigeria at the event include the IBB Golf Club, Abuja; Ibadan Golf Club; Ikeja Golf Club; Ikoyi Golf Club; Ilorin Golf Club and Ekiti Golf Club while golf clubs within Ondo State who witnessed the event were Nibalola Golf Club, Ondo, Cross Creek Club, Akure and the host, Smokin Hills and Golf Resorts, Ilara-Mokin.

At the end of the tournament, Olalere Olakunle, a student of Elizade University, Ilaramokin emerged the overall winner of the Akeredolu Second Term Inauguration Golf Tournament.

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