Rivers State Prepares to Host Sports Fiesta, Pledges to Partner with SWAN.
By Tonye Orabere
Rivers State government has shown its preparedness to develop sports in all ramifications, the state commissioner for sports, Hon. Boma Iyaye said the state would organize her Sports Festival next year.
He stated that the state is also prepared to host the African wrestling championship scheduled to hold February next year, saying about 43 African countries is expected to attend the event.
Hon. Iyaye, speaking in an interactive session with members of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Rivers State chapter, in his office, on Monday, said the state is committed to developing and promoting sports in the state, most significantly at grassroots level.
“We are looking for a way to host our own sports festival tagged “Unity Games” in the state. I think the last time we held that was ten years ago, but we are going to see whether we can organize it for every two years” Hon Iyaye said.
According to him, the major aim and objectives of the States Sports festival is to discover talents at the grassroots level to enable the state have abundant talents.
” The state government is having annual Sports development plan. We really want to do what we can achieve easily” He stated.
Mr Iyaye used the forum to explain why Team Rivers attended the just concluded National Youth Games, at Ilorin, Kwara state, late.
According to him, during the period there was no commissioner and no substantive permanent secretary in the ministry.
However, the money was approved and mandate was given, but unfortunately the governor was not in town to give the final directives.
” We are happy that we eventually attend the event, besides, we won some medals. I know if we had gone earlier we would have placed higher on the medal table” He stated.
In a related development the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports has pledged to partner with Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Rivers State chapter, to achieve its plans towards sports development in the state.
The Commissioner, Hon. Boma Iyaye said sports is a media event so there is no way sports writers will be in isolation in all plans by the government towards the development Sports in the State.
He promised that he will ensure that sports writers are included in the various subcommittees scheduled to be set up for the forthcoming African Wrestling championship, next year February.
He thanked the association for its contributions in terms of sports development and promotion, adding that constructive criticism from members of organization has also assisted government to make necessary adjustments in her Sports policies and programmes.
The commissioner equally promised to appoint SWAN members into the various State Sports associations when they are inaugurated in October this year.
” I thank all members of SWAN for their contributions to Sports development in the State, because you and I know that Sports is team work, only one person can not do all. I specially appreciate the Chairman of the association, Sopriala Bobmanuel for his leadership qualities” Hon Iyaye concluded.
Earlier, the Chairman of SWAN, Rivers State chapter, Sopriala Bobmanuel expressed sadness over the neglect of the association in most Sporting events in the State.
Bobmanuel, requested the Commissioner to always involve SWAN, because as he said “Sports writers are the major promoters of Sports globally”