By Joy Odor
The Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has made known the decision of his administration to convert the gigantic Lafia City Hall, into a multipurpose indoor sports arena.
Engineer Sule made this known while being presented with medals won by sports men and women during the year, as well as coaches from Nasarawa United that were invited to the national team, at the Government House, on Wednesday.
The Governor said with the present sitting arrangement in the Lafia City Hall, government will spend little amount of money, to be able to convert the facility into a multipurpose indoor sports arena, where various sports like basketball, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting and others can take place.
According to Engineer Sule, sports is no longer what it used to be in the past, with sports now a serious business around the world, with for instance, the NBA, NFL and NHL in the United States adding more to the GDP of America, than the entire GDP of Nigeria.
The Governor stated further that the era of minerals being exploited to develop economies is fast fading, with the advent of the era of digital economy, where knowledge and talents generate revenue easier.
He added that the thrust of his administration is to harness the various talents, knowledge and experiences in the sports sector, with a view to making the youths in the State live productive lives.
“Most of the sports arenas that I have visited, all locked like the City Hall, when the idea came, I think it was a perfect idea. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever being able to convert it into an indoor sports arena,” the Governor said.
On the successes recorded within the year, Engineer Sule pointed out that Nasarawa State had a solid foundation in sports even before he became Governor, recalling that the state football teams during the administration of Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, has always done the state proud.
He commended the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Othman Bala Usman, for his enthusiasm, which serves as motivation and encouragement for the sports men and women to excel and to continue to make Nasarawa State proud.
Engineer Sule announced a donation of N10m in support of the coaches and victorious sports men and women that have won various medals for the state during the last year.
Earlier in an opening remarks, State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Hon. Othman Bala Usman, said with the coming of the present administration, sports has been given the needed support, encouragement and motivation, which translated into victory for sports men and women in th state.
Hon. Usman disclosed that during the past year, sports men and women in the state won 22 gold medals, 11 silver medals and 12 bronze medals, in different sporting activities.
The Commissioner added that because of the Governor’s disposition towards sports development and youth empowerment, 5 national coaches were invited from.clubs in the state.
Also speaking, the Andoma of Doma, HRH Ahmadu Aliyu Ogah, who doubles of the sponsor of the Andoma Peace and Unity National Basketball Tournament, urged the Governor to consider establishing state teams for basketball and golf, since according to him, the state is blessed with talented sports men and women in the two sports.
The Andoma equally made case for the government to support talented young men and women in various sporting activities by placing them on salary, to serve as moral booster.
The royal father then urged the state government to erect an indoor basketball court inside the Lafia City Hall, to not only provide training facility for basketballers in the state but enable the state host national basketball tournaments.