Ekiti state governor, Biodun Oyebanji on Wednesday hosted athletes and their coaches who represented the state at the last National Sports Festival staged in Delta state.
The governor while addressing the sportsmen and women said he deliberately made job creation number one on his agenda in a bid to effectively engage the youths who are into sports and other vocations.
BAO noted that sportsmen and women as well as their coaches deserved a better working condition stressing that those who are into sports should live better lives like people working in oil companies and medical doctors as sportsmen and women in other climes were among the richest people in the world.
The Ekiti State governor who expressed optimism that Ekiti state could attain the lofty height however urged all stakeholders to compliment government’s efforts at developing sports more rapidly.
Oyebanji commended the commitment of the state athletes who defied all odds to win medals at the National Sports Festival as funds and approval were granted late.
He bemoaned the sorry state of sports facilities at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti saying his administration was in talks with some bankers to construct a modern indoor sports hall for the state.
In his words ” I commend you and your coaches for trying to make something out of nothing and I promise you that we will make a difference”
” We are going to take Sports out of the ministry and create Ekiti State Sports Commission that will see to athletes welfare and report to me directly so that we can partner with both government and private sectors and all bureaucracy of government will not have anything to do with Sport”
” I want to lay a very good foundation for the Sports Commission and we are looking at all other states that are doing same and we shall adopt the best model that will work for us”
” When we start we don’t want to have any issue, we want to give you the best”
” Some people came to me and said I should rush it within my 100 days in office but I told them that I am not here for razzmatazz but for a serious business”
On the anticipated cash rewards for the medalists, governor Oyebanji said the rewards for the athletes will be made known to them privately in order to avoid public harassment from people wanting to collect money from the sportsmen and women.
He assured the athletes that they would soon be adequately rewarded.
BAO said ” whatever we do for you is to make you do more, but it’s not to take you away from what you have been doing that have earned you medals”
“Monetary rewards should spur you to get to the peak of your sporting career”
“We will strengthen our laws that have to do with sporting development in Ekiti state to make sure that you are insured and give you access to lots of things as Ekiti Ambassadors”
Governor Biodun Oyebanji who thanked the athletes for doing the state proud through sports assured that substantial work should have been done on the indoor sports hall within the next one year”
“When they took me to the boxing ring, I wondered how people trained there and I must commend the athletes who stayed back to represent Ekiti state and by the time we finish what we are doing, those that ran to other states will come back”
” To wrap it up, the sports passionate governor assured of his readiness to join the sportsmen at the stadium for trainings once in a while saying “YOU ARE NOT IN THIS ALONE, WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER”
He equally applauded the former chairman of the Sports Council, Hon Olusola Osetoba and former Permanent Secretary, Mr Yemi Owoseni .
Earlier, the General Manager, Ekiti state Sports Council, Mr Kunle Adeyemi had thanked the governor for his tremendous support towards sports since he assumed office saying efforts were on to bring back all the Ekiti born athletes who went to represent other states at the last National Sports Festival.
He informed the governor that Ekiti state won medals in 7 out of 10 games she featured in at the Delta 2022 National Sports Festival.
The permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Ayodele Adeyanju who gave the vote of thanks said the governor had given the sports family a new lease of life and hope that the future would be better than the past.
He urged every stakeholder to synergize with the present goverment in it’s quest to achieve it’s lofty ideas and initiatives.
The occasion was attended by the Head of Service Barrister Bamidele Agbede and the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habeebat Adubiaro.