Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has described sport as a veritable tool, capable of uniting various ethnic groups in the country, if well harnessed.
Governor Abiodun stated this in his office while receiving team members of the Abeokuta 10 Kilometres Marathon Race, led by a former Commissioner for Youths and Sports in the State, Mr. Bukola Olopade, noting that sport has the potential of bringing every segment of the country together.
“Sport is a major unifying factor that should be encouraged. Apart from being a profession, it also helps in keeping people fit and healthy. When Nigeria is taking part in any sporting activities, be it athletic or football, Nigerians forget their differences and come together to support their team until after the game, when we go our different ways”, he stated.
Describing the State as “home of Sports”, which had produced eminent personalities and made the State, as well as the country proud, the Governor maintained that a Sport Commission would be created to take sports to greater height.
He stressed the need for youths to be encouraged to take part in sporting activities, as a means of livelihood, which would also help them to be more disciplined and shun social vices, thanking the organisers for the choice of Ogun for the event, which has afford the State an opportunity to showcase its sporting and business potentials to the outside world.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Bukola Olopade, said the State was the first to host such an international race in Nigeria, thanking the government for putting machineries in place for the success of the event.
Also speaking, the President, International Association of Ultra-runner, Mr. Nadeem Khan and the President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau, lauded the State for hosting the marathon, noting that, the Abeokuta event was the biggest race to be staged in Africa.
An Olympian, Mrs. Falilat Ogunkoya, appreciated Governor Abiodun for taking steps to revive sports in the State, saying sports promote healthy living and a source of income for professionals.