The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr Solomon Dalung has appealed to investors, Corporate Bodies, Businessmen and women, as well as the well to do in the society to invest in grassroots sports development as part of their corporate and social responsibilities towards youth empowerment, talent haunt and employment generation for our teeming youths.
2. Barr Dalung made the appeal in Sokoto at the weekend while speaking as a Special Guest of Honour at the Grand Finale of the 2nd edition of the Kukah Unity Cup Football Competition aimed at promoting peace, healthy completion and inter-religious harmony and mutual respect among Christian and Muslim youths in the North in particular and the country in general.
3. This year’s edition was also used to celebrate Bishop Kukah – the founder of the Kukah Cup Competition on the occasion of his 31st Anniversary as a Priest.
4. Dalung also directed officials of the Sokoto State National Football Federation to come up without delay with a framework of upgrading the competition to a bigger tournament for participation by the entire nineteen (19) Northern States; even as he promised to use his good office to look for sponsors for the tournament.
5. The Minister described Bishop Mathew Hassan Kuka, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese in whose name the competition is named as a guiding light on promotion of peace and development as well as interfaith harmony and understanding in the country “your contributions in promoting national unity and development across religious, ethnic and cultural barriers are too numerous to go unnoticed.” He said.
6. Dalung who went on memory lane, recalled that history has it that Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon had used traditional sports such as Kokuwa, Langa and wrestling competitions as peaceful instrument of diplomacy ever before the advent of international formal sport competitions as we have it today; and opined that sports remains a potent weapon for promoting enduring peace, unity and development in our country.
7. He particularly called on the rich and the well to do in the North to re-direct their wealth, energies and resources to sport development so that the burning energy of the youth can be gainfully channelled to positive ends thereby solving the current insurgency problem that is largely caused by joblessness, idleness and frustration among the youth.
8. Dalung also used the occasion to commend the contributions of the youth to bring about the new government and the change agenda assuring that the present administration is committed to address youth unemployment and empowerment; “ I assure Nigerian Youth that President Buhari government recognises them as agents of positive change and will do everything possible to promote their wellbeing for them to be useful to themselves and the nation”
9. In his remarks, Bishop Kukah said “apart from serving the objective of promoting peace and unity, if we keep to the spirit of the game, we will be able to fight corruption, ethnic and religious bigotry and other vices. Our youth will also get the right message.”
10. The Sokoto Stars Youth Club retained the Kukah Unity Cup which they won last year after defeating its Katsina State opponent by 5-4 in a penalty shootout after 90 minutes of pulsating match without any of the team seeing the back of the net.
11. Although the competition is the brain child of the Catholic Secretariat to give impetus to the ideal of Bishop Kuka, it is a unique competition as every competing team is composed of both Christian and Muslim players from Sokoto, Kebbi. Zamfara and Katsina States.
12. Important Guests that graced the occasion aside from the Youth and Sport Minister, include the Sokoto State Commissioner of Sports, the State Chairman of the NFF, Representative of the Sultan of Sokoto, Representatives of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, members of the Christian Association of Nigeria and some captains of industries in Sokoto State.
D (Press & Public Relations}