Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has bagged Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Merit Award, in recognition of his outstanding roles and contributions towards the development of sports in the country.
In a colourful award ceremony held in Asaba on Saturday night, August 4, President of NOC, Engr. Habu Gumel personally presented the award to the governor in a glittering occasion which also, saw the presentation of various awards to such notables personalities as Rt. Hon. Sir Adetokumbo Ademola, Sir Awotire Eleyae, late Alhaji Babayo Shehu, Chief Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Sir Isaac Uwadiale lkhuoria, among other outstanding athletes, sports administrators as well as sportsmen and women who have brought pride, joy, fame and glory to Nigeria in the continental and international circuits over the years.
Governor Okowa thanked God for using him as an instrument for the development of sports and urged government at all levels to be committed to the development of sports.
According to the governor, “I must truly thank the President of NOC for the award given to me, it will spur me to talk about sports and encourage the development of sports. We should get more committed to our athletes and sports development and I believe that government can drag the private sector to support the development of sports because, with the support of government and the private sector, our sports men and women can do more.
Speaking further, the governor said, “I thank the organizers of this award, it is very instructive and very heartwarming to get the award done because there is no one who does not like to be appreciated for his good deeds, I believe with this awards, we have encouraged our sports men and women or encouraged their children to continue with strides; we should have a space to continue to appreciate those who have won laurels for us both locally and internationally.”
The governor used the occasion to also appreciate those who have contributed to the success story of the African Athletics Championship, even as he noted that the event has not only impacted positively on the economy of the capital city of Asaba, but has equally served as a platform to encourage the teeming population of young people who witnessed the track and field events, to devote more attention to their participation in sporting activities.
“This championship has greatly touched the economy of this city and our state, but beyond that, sports is a unifying factor and many of our young ones will be encouraged to go into sports and use sports to better their lives; there is nothing you spend in sports that is a waste.”
Minister of Sports and Youths Development, Barr. Solomon Dalung, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Adesola Olusade said Governor Okowa has distinguished himself as a patriotic Nigeria by making it possible for Asaba to host the Senior Athletics Championships and commended the NOC for recognising talents that have contributed to the development of sports in the country.
Engr. Gumel commended the committee that selected the award recipients recognising men and women who have won gold for the country and congratulated Governor Okowa for the successful hosting of the Asaba 2018.