Governor of Benue state Dr Samuel Ortom says he will collaborate with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to boost employment and create wealth for the youths of Benue state.
Dr Ortom made the remark when the Youth and Sports Minister Barrister Solomon Dalung paid a two- day working visit to the state.
“Our state ministry of youth and sports will work with you. I want to urge you to include Benue state in your provisional programs so that our youths can benefit from skills acquisition, youth policy formation, training, sports, etc.
“We are soliciting that you kindly facilitate our hosting of national and international sports festivals as this will open our state to investors. We propose a partnership with your ministry to host competitions such as schools sports, sports festivals and inter-collegiate competitions. These activities will help in identifying talents, promoting recreation, tourism as well as physical fitness of our young people.”
Dr Ortom also asked the minister to use his good office to assist the state in the establishment of a national football academy and upgrade the Aper Aku stadium to international standard as the state lacked such facilities where international activities can take place.
“We are calling on the Hon minister to assist us to establish three modern recreational centers in each senatorial district, a viable youth center as well as ICT training centers. We shall be willing to provide the support including a percentage of our security vote where necessary.”
Earlier, Barrister Solomon Dalung thanked the governor for providing good leadership attributes to the people of Benue state despite huge challenges facing the state. He noted that the key actors in the conflict theatre were the young people whose lack of engagement had made them easy tools of manipulation in the hands of ambitious political elements and urged the governor to invest more in sports.
“I am here to inspect some of your sporting facilities and that of the federal government and also to invite your excellency to invest more in sports especially those sports like basketball and volleyball which Benue state monopolized back in the days. Benue must come back and take the lead in these two sports so that Nigeria can be represented in these sports internationally.
“If sports has enormous potentials for creating wealth, tourism, foreign reserve earner and contributing to the health of the society, then we must try to diversify the economy by accommodating the sporting industry as one of the major industries that will drive Nigeria out of recession.
“I therefore ask for one third of the enormous budget of your security vote to be given for sports development and Benue state will reap from it” Dalung said.
The Minister later visited the Macarty stadium which also serves as club house for Lobi Stars, the Aper Aku stadium including the main bowl, the abandoned swimming pool project, dilapidated Tennis and basketball courts, the APC headquarters as well as the NYSC camp at Wannune Benue state.