Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has assured participants at the 21st Nigeria Polytechnic Games (NIPOGA) holding at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo (RUGIPO) of adequate security.
Akeredolu gave the assurance at the opening ceremony of the games and unveiling of “Oronsen”, the official Mascot of the games in Owo on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 40 institutions are participating in the 21st Edition.
The governor who was represented by Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Bamidele Ologunloluwa, said the current administration has put in place necessary security arrangements for adequate protection before, during and after the games.
Akeredolu, who thanked all the partner agencies and individuals that contributed to the hosting of the games in the state, charged the participating institutions to compete in line with the rules of the games.
“Let me use this platform to sincerely express the appreciation of the Ondo State government to the National Board Technical Education (NBTE), TETFUND as well as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for their massive support in the organisation and management of this edition of the games.
“On behalf of the good people of Ondo State, while wishing you all a peaceful and successful outing, the 21st Edition of Nigeria Polytechnic Games is hereby declared open,” he said.
Akeredolu noted that sport is one the best means to meaningfully engage the youths.
The governor added that sport also deepened development of human capacity, opportunity for talent hunt and promotion of national integration and social cohesion.
The President of NIPOGA Council, Mr Adebola Ogundahunsi, thanked the participating institutions and Ondo State governor for financial support and his presence at the opening ceremony.
Ogundahunsi, who is also the Rector of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, said the presence of the governor at the event was a manifestation of his administration’s commitment to the development of sports.
The rector said NIPOGA was organised to foster unity, peace and friendship amongst students, staff and institutions.
He charged athletes to see the games as an opportunity to showcase their talents in other to attract sponsors.
He urged sports administrators to use the arena to scout for talents as well as promote them in the quest to develop the youth and ultimately build the sports sector.
“Over 3,500 athletes and their officials drawn from across the country will feature in eight games which include; Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Chess, Scrabble, Football, Table Tennis and Volleyball in the competition that will end on the 21st of January,” he said.
The Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye III, said he was happy that the 21st Nigeria Polytechnic Games is holding in his kingdom.
He charged all the participating institutions to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and familiarise themselves with the culture and people of the town.
NAN reports that the opening ceremony football match involving Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo and Plateau State Polytechnic, Barkin-Ladi ended 1-1.