The International Sporting Press on Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium, honoured Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike with the “Power of Sports ” award .
He was nominated by the International Sports Press Association-Africa (AIPS) Africa.
Witnessed by Sports Personalities and Journalists from across the globe, the award to Governor Wike was for his remarkable fidelity in raising the bar of sports matters and using sports as a catalyst for development.
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media, Simone Nwakaudu stated that The presentation took place at Le Plaza, Brussels and was performed by the President, AIPS, Mr Gianni Merlo and President, AIPS Africa, Mr Mitchell Obi . And Sports Journalists from 108 countries witnessed the event.
Presenting the award to the Rivers State Governor, President AIPS Africa, Mitchell Obi said Governor Wike is being recognised for the use of sports as a tool to effectively engage the youth population in the continent.
He urged Governor Wike to sustain his commitment to sports development as more youths will be empowered in the state.
In his acceptance speech, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike dedicated the award to God, his immediate family and the good people of Rivers State who have supported his efforts at creating a New Rivers State.
Governor Wike noted that the award by the International Sporting Press will spur into greater commitment to the service of Rivers State and humanity.
At the same event on Wednesday, Governor Wike presented a lecture titled: “Peace and Progress through Sports in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria” wherein he canvassed that sport has functions beyond its simplest form as a game to encompass a cost effective means for addressing a broad range of socio-economic challenges that impact on peace and human progress.
He said: ” Arguably, there is no social activity that can match the role sport plays in breaking down barriers, bringing people together across nations, promoting understanding, positively engaging the energy of youths and in mobilizing support for social causes.
” Therefore, event at the simplest level, sport not only improves the mental and physical health of participants; it also helps to inculcate such timeless values as honesty, hard work, obedience, respect, team work, discipline, and leadership in the youths.
“And as you know, these are all useful values for creating peaceful and progressive societies as well as for achieving national peace and basic development goals, including poverty reduction”.
He said that States in the Niger Delta region recognize the special power of sports for promoting peace and development in the region.
The governor noted that in addition to sports policies, Niger Delta States all have ministries or departments exclusively responsible for sports development.
He said: “As a result of these efforts at sports development, our country’s national sports teams are always dominated by sports men and women from the region, who are competing with the rest of the world and bringing laurels to Nigeria.
“Apart from giving hope for a brighter future, unemployed youths are also getting increasingly engaged and empowered through the various sport platforms the region has provided.
“These engagements have successfully turned most of our youths away from violence and other anti-social behavior, and thereby enhancing peace and progress at different levels of society”.
Governor Wike said that in the last three years years of his administration, the Rivers State Government has invested in local and international football development, national and international wrestling competitions, Polo, golf and the development of critical sports facilities.
He said: “I wish to reiterate our resolve to continue to tap the benefits of sport to advance social cohesion, peace and progress in Rivers State, the Niger Delta, and the, as well as across Africa.
“May I therefore use this opportunity to call on international donor organizations, sports charities, as well as the private sector to support our efforts with facilities, training and sponsorship.”
The dignitaries who witness the presentation are the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, Senator Osinakachukwu Ideozu , Senator Lee Maeba, Senator George Thompson Sekibo, Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, Attorney General of Rivers State, Mr Emmanuel Aguma (SAN), Commissioner of Sports, Mr Boma Iyaye, Majority Whip of Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr Evans Bipi, Special Adviser on Politics and Strategy, Dr Gabriel Pidomson, Chief Glory Emeh, Executive Assistant, Research and Documentation, Dr Jacob Beredugo.