Nigeria’s Pillar of Sports, Donatus Ejidike, has called for harmonisation of splinter supporters’ clubs, to foster unity and project Nigeria’s sports industry as indivisible.
Ejidike made the call when he was conferred with the honour of National Patron by the Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club (NFSC) on Thursday night.
The event held at NFSC’s National Secretariat in Surulere, Lagos.
“We are all Nigerians with common love for sports.
“As fans, there is a need to forge a common ground in unity and love to support our various teams both at home and abroad,’’ he said.
Ejidike assured the NFSC and the entire sports industry of his continuous support, saying he was ready to take sports to the next level in Nigeria.
The Anambra-born businessman commended the NFSC Chairman, Samuel Ikpea, describing him as a patriot and an ardent sports lover.
“My aspiration as the Pillar of Sports is to play a critical role in shaping sports policies and push for model sports structures in our leagues’ administration and leadership at all levels, so that our country’s name will be synonymous with sports in the world.
“Although I strongly believe in grassroots sports development, the role of supporters’ clubs cannot be overemphasised both in the country and in the international football circles.
“Supporters’ clubs are never defeated, never weary, never lose hope.
“Supporters’ clubs are great motivators and are a great factor to reckon with in sports promotion and, therefore, are very important,’’ he said.
Ejidike thanked the leadership of the NFSC for the honour, and promised to give his best for its development.
He expressed delight at the recognition.
Conferring the honour on the sports philanthropist, Ikpea restated his commitment to the Nigeria Sports Project, adding that he would not relent in efforts toward sports promotion.
According to him, the investiture of the sports philanthropist as NFSC’s National Patron should not be seen as hypocrisy but well-deserved honour.
“We don’t give patron to anybody in this club because we are seeking relevance or patronage, you must merit it in all facets of our considerations.
“We have been following the activities of High Chief Ejidike as a grassroots sports promoter and philanthropist.
“His love and desire to promote sports in Nigeria is not in doubt.
“In the last decade, Ejidike has single-handedly sponsored over 50 sports competitions, including football, badminton, volleyball, gymnastics, boxing and many other lesser sports that hardly attract attention.
“He has on many occasions sponsored Kwara University Medical Students Games and various age categories of YSFON Games,” he said.
Ikpea said that such a high-level patriotism and interest in sports promotion had spoken volumes in the public domain, especially in the sports arena.
“On this note, I, as the Chairman of the foremost NFSC, by the power conferred on me and my entire members, are glad to confer on you the office of a National Patron of the Nigeria Football Supporters’ Club,’’ Ikpea said.
According to him, the club members are glad to have Ejidike in their midst and count on his goodwill, integrity and philanthropism.