Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has described sports as a veritable tool for economic development, just as he called on financially-muscled Nigerians to invest in sports.
Daniel, made the remarks on Friday in Sagamu, while playing host to members of the National Executive Committee of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) who were at his residence to pay him a courtesy visit.
He noted that sports can create employment, empowerment and above all, develop the society economically. “I want to use this opportunity to call on well-meaning Nigerians who have the financial muscle, people like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Dr Mike Adenuga and host of others to try as much as possible to invest in sports.
“I heard in the news sometime ago that Alhaji Aliko Dangote wants to buy Arsenal Football Club. Well, he is a businessman, He must have seen the potential of making profit by acquiring the club but I want him to look inwards and consider having a Dangote Football Club in Nigeria. By doing this, there will be employment for some set of people and those depending on them for their daily needs will also benefit indirectly.
“It is also funny when I hear people say that sports does not bring any kind of profit when invested in. I remember when we hosted the Gateway Games in 2006, I think we recorded about N92m profit after the competition.
“Therefore, it is important to note here that sports as much as I know is one of the most profitable ventutes. Aside the economic value attached to sports, It also reduces social vices in the society because whenever any sporting event is taking place, the environment become friendly and devoid of any form of criminality”. He said.
In his address, SWAN president, Honour Sirawoo, stated that Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s tremendous achievements in the sports sector while in office prompted the visit of the NEC of the association to him.
“We are here today to let you know that all what you did to develop sports in Ogun State in Nigeria at large when you were serving as governor did not go unnoticed. And that is the reason we are here tell you that you are recognised and highly appreciated for your efforts.
“As a result of this, your excellency, I want to, by the power conferred on me and as stipulated by the SWAN statutes and also with the support of my fellow exco members announce you as our national patron”.
Sirawoo, however, hinted that the formal investiture will be held at a later date and at the convenience of the recipient.
During Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s administration, Ogun State hosted the National Sports Festival tagged ‘Gateway Games 2006’. Also, during his tenure three international standard stadiums were built, One of which hosted some matches during the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.