Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday said sports could be a means of Nigeria projecting soft power to the world if the local talents are properly developed and motivated.
"It’s my hope that the government at all levels should develop a sectoral plan strategy to transform sports into an industry that empowers our teeming youths for social and economic development," AbdulRazaq said in a speech at the closing ceremony of the 5th National Youths Games at the University of Ilorin in Ilorin, the state capital.
"Sports should not just be for mere recreation; it should be an important tools for image projection and diplomacy, a source of soft power, and a big industry that can engage the youths who would otherwise have channelled their abundant energy to other untoward activities."
AbdulRazaq commended all the participants for their sportsmanship and hailed the Sports Ministry and the host university for their efforts that resulted in the success of the game.
"All of you are winners. The fact that you all came here from across the country shows your efforts to win," he said.
"I hereby congratulate the organisers of this event. It is a fantastic event, hosting up to 4000 youths is a phenomenal thing. I salute Delta, Lagos in specific, I cannot call all states."
He pledged to make the event better next year, including ensuring that the state contingent performs better.
"This is a new government, and we have seen what can be achieved and what is achievable. Certainly next year it is going to be a better event. This is my first time to this event, next year we would come in full force. And we believe there will be progression and growth because the number of the participants in this edition surpassed last year’s, and next year we hope to have more," he added.