Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Tuesday in Abuja promised that the National Assembly would deploy all within its legislative powers to reposition the sports sector in Nigeria.
Dogara, while speaking at a one-day National Sports Summit organised by the House Committee on Sports, said the repositioning was necessary in the interest of peace and progress in the industry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit has the theme “Growing Nigeria Sports from the Grassroots for Championship, Excellence and Sustainable Development’’.
The House Speaker said the summit captured the place of sports as a veritable tool of sustainable development.
Dogara listed some of the summit’s objectives to include facilitating sports development in Nigeria through adequate legislation of policies and helping to harmonise sports polices for effective and efficient implementation.
He said this was also necessary because the potential for Nigeria to become a global power in sports could not be limited.
“We have a large pool of youth population with rich talents and passion for sports.
“What is needed is to effectively harness these endowments in order to unlock a world of treasure that can effectively drive our development,” the Speaker said.
Dogara lamented that sports in Nigeria have continued to be at an epileptic state without significant contribution because there has been a management failure in sports management.
“If Nigeria gets sports management right, the sector should be contributing more to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than the other major sectors we rely on today.
“Nigeria sports has been bedeviled with series of teething problems, this situation has led to growing concern for stakeholders in sports and a serious agitation for the need to salvage the situation,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Sports, Goni Lawan, had said the summit was aimed at fashioning a way for the enactment of proper legislation for sports in the country.
He added that it would help in removing impediments hindering sports development.
“Such legislation, when enacted with the support of all stakeholders, will go a long way in removing the burden of sports sponsorship from government,’’ the committee chairman said.
He added that the role of sports in closing the gap of unemployment and taming youth restiveness cannot be over-emphasised.
“The decadence and negligence in our sports industry, especially at the grassroots level, have reached an alarming state and something very urgent must be done to safeguard the situation,’’ Lawan said.
NAN reports that the summit brought together top sports stakeholders from across Nigeria to deliberate on the way forward for sports in Nigeria.