No More Mercenaries In Lagos Sports —Fashola

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The Lagos State Sports Festival, tagged Ibile Games 2012 came to an end on Saturday with the State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, declaring that the days of mercenary athletes are over in Lagos and would soon be over in the country.

Fashola, who spoke at the closing ceremony held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, added that coming to the venue and seeing children competing and contesting reinforces the commitment of the government to ensuring that the era of the mercenary athlete was over.

“We want to see sportsmen and women grow under our watch right from the primary school through the secondary school to the university and into full adult life and being able to vouch for their ages and being able to watch them blossom under our careful tutelage.

“I think the journey to the return of Nigeria to the pre-eminent position in sports globally and continentally has begun here from the grassroots,” the Governor said.

He urged all competitors, including those who won and those who did not win to note that there would always be another chance and another opportunity next year, adding that they should not give up but continue to work, practice and get themselves ready for tournaments.

The Governor said the various sporting festivals builds the character of boys and girls and prepare them to become world leaders and adults, stressing that it also teaches them to work hard, to run hard and to compete in the hope that they can win.

Continuing, Governor Fashola said when they do not win, it teaches them to accept that the better side won, adding that if this is continued, the nation will be building the human capital, who in the future would be able to act fairly, compete honestly and accept if they lose fairly.

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“And for this boys and girls to become Governors and Senators, one day they would also be able to accept fairly that elections have been held, won and lost fairly. There would be no desperation”, he said.

Governor Fashola said in hosting the games, the objective has been achieved to bring back children into the sports arena to compete, to prepare to challenge locally, nationally and globally.

He thanked the staff and officers of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Social Welfare, the sponsors, the Sports Council, children and students for their contribution to the success of IBILE Games.

The highlights of the closing ceremony of the Ibile Games was the final of the football competition which was won by Ipakodo High School, Ikorodu which defeated Oduduwa Grammar School, Mushin by 4 -1.

The Yaba Local Council Development Area emerged the overall winner with 158 gold, 104 silver and 99 bronze medals with Bariga taking the second position with 153 gold, 123 silver and 115 bronze medals, while the third position went to Lagos Island with a total of 86 gold, 76 silver and 72 bronze medals.

Prominent among those who witnessed the closing ceremony were members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Mr. Enitan Oshodi, Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye and Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Florence Oguntuashe and the athletes from the 57Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the State.