President Muhammadu Buhari has described sports as crucial to fostering unity and national development of the country.
The president said this on Friday in Abuja at the formal unveiling of the renamed Moshood Abiola Stadium and exhibition to mark the 2020 June 12, Democracy Day.
The president, represented by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Muhammad Bello, stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to develop sports in the country in line with international best practice.
“This administration places high premium on sports development, as a result of our belief that no responsible government can neglect the importance of the core values of sports to national development.
“Sports also creates an engagement platform for our teeming youth by keeping them busy and serves as a rallying point for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or geographical affiliation,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, thanked President Buhari for renaming the stadium after the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola.
He noted that plans were underway to renovate and make the stadium Nigeria’s flagship sports hub.
“The naming of this stadium will serve to beckon to other Nigerians, with ways and means like Abiola, to emulate him and embrace, support and invest in sports development.
“Under this dispensation, we have seen Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Chief Adebutu Keshington step up to the plate, to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, in a quest to restore our sporting infrastructure,” he said.
Alhaji Kola Abiola, son of the late MKO Abiola, in his remarks, lauded the Federal Government for the honour given to his father who contributed immensely to the development of sports in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the high point of the event was the unveiling of new stadium signage and exhibition tour.
MKO Abiola contributed greatly to sports in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, earning himself the Pillar of Sports in Africa, awarded in 1980 by African Sports Journalists Union (ASJU).
He was also a recipient of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Gold Merit Award at its General Assembly in Dakar, Senegal in 1992. (NAN)