By Terfa Alaghga
“I want to give you the assurance that the Governor is committed to stepping up sports activities, because he feels that it will open flanks of job opportunities for young people in the state”.
The Commissioner of Youth, Sports and Creativity, Terkimbir Ikyange gave the assurance when members of the Board of the Benue State Football Association BSFA led by its chairman, Paul Edeh paid a courtesy call on him in his office in Makurdi.
He reassured that, “a lot of sporting activities will be stepped up in the state because His Excellency, the Governor of Benue State, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia has been so committed and is vehement about bringing back the lost glory of Benue State, in terms of sporting activities. This will really put us back on the map as well as get our youths gainfully employed and meaningfully engaged”.
Ikyange who said the state had been inactive in sporting activities but was happy that the BSFA was initiating programmes that would bring back the hearts of the younger people to be creative particularly in football, noted that, “when I visited those athletes preparing for the National Youth Games at the Aper Aku Stadium, I was impressed with the zeal, determination and willingness of the young people to go and do the state proud”.
The commissioner said the steps taken by the BSFA to lift football in the state, by hosting the Chairman Cup , Governor Cup, board members cup and other football events, was commendable, and that, “the Ministry will continue to partner with those who will develop sports in the state, stressing that, “by the time we unveil our policies and programmes, we will pursue them vigorously to a logical conclusion”.
He thanked them for the timely visit saying, “I’ll meet with the Governor, before we come out with a date the Governor Cup competition will commence, after fixing the Aper Aku Stadium because the grand finale will attract personalities across the length and breadth of Nigeria”.
Earlier, the Chairman of the BSFA, Paul Edeh who said they were in the commissioner’s office to intimate him of their activities and to pledge their willingness to work with the government in order to take football development to the next level, explained that, “we have set an agenda which is anchored on running an FA that is investment driven, self sustaining and also anchored on the principles of accountability and integrity, so as to drive the game of football at the grassroots, in line with the vision of the NFF, WAFU, CAF and the FIFA”.
Edeh who congratulated the commissioner on his well deserved appointment, describing him as a round peg in a round hole, said, ” our vision is to also see how we can fuse education with football, so that even after retirement from active playing of football, they will have something to fall back to”.
In his response, the Director of Sports Development, Ministry of Youths, Sports and Creativity, Terzungwe Ichull who observed that the ministry was completely in the dark on the activities of associations, said, “it is only when you keep us abreast of your activities that we will be able to make inputs and also help in the development of such association”.
Ichull explained that the mandate of the ministry was formulation and implementation of policies and programmes and going forward, “there must be a cordial working relationship, synergy and better understanding”.
Highlights of the event included signing of ” Football for All” by the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Creativity, Terkimbir Ikyange.