Abuja – The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalong, has identified internal wrangling as a major impediment to the development of sports in the country.
Dalong said this at a dinner on Wednesday in Abuja in honour of the Golden Eaglets who won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup on Sunday in Chile.
He said internal wrangling was the main hindrance to the ability to harness the great potentials in the sector to speed up development.
“We will make progress if we stop quarrelling, because quarrelling cannot bring progress. We will be giants of Africa’s sports and we will even dominate world sports for a very long time.
“We have everything it takes to do so if, and only if, we tolerate each other, co-operate with each other and support each other to build this industry.
“There is wealth in this industry, but we continue to remain poor because we continue to engage in disputes, rather than in ways to ensure economic growth.
“Money is a coward and fears trouble. Anywhere money hears the sound of quarrel, it will move away. So, the disputes in the sports industry have driven the money away.
“Even in the midst of abundance, we cannot make wealth because we are too busy quarrelling. This is why sports development in Nigeria has remained where it is today.
“In this industry, we must continue to co-operate with each other. We must reflect soberly, we must look at those things we have being doing in the past, which have not helped us, and guard against them.
“I understand that whistle-blowers have been shouting corruption in the sports industry, but I believe that if we dedicate ourselves selflessly, we will reap the benefit of our sweat.
“We should collectively reject corruption, purge ourselves, re-dedicate ourselves and work towards making this country very great.
“The only thing that unites Nigerians is sports. If the sports sector is properly harnessed, it can help to reduce some pockets of crisis and create employment opportunity for many unemployed youths.
“I implore all stakeholders to sheathe their swords and join us in the effort to revamp the sector and boost the country’s wonderful sports tradition to encourage the young ones,’’ the minister said.
Earlier, the Director-General of National Sports Commission (NSC), Alhassan Yakmut, had praised the Golden Eaglets for the glory they brought to the country.
He also congratulated the Scrabble Federation of Nigeria (SFN) over the success of its athlete who emerged the world best scrabble player.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Wellington Jighere beat Lewis MacKay after four straight games in the best-of-seven final round in Perth, Western Australia.
Yakmut disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari would fix a date to honour all sports men and women who have made the country proud since May 29 to date.(NAN)