FG To Leverage Sports to Deepen National Cohesion – Information Minister

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe; Minister of Sports, Senator John Enoh; Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Sports, Mrs. Tinuke Watti, when the Sports Minister paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information and National Orientation in Abuja on Thursday

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has stressed the administration’s commitment to harnessing the transformative power of sports to deepen unity and cohesion in the country.

Idris made the remarks in Abuja on Thursday when he received the management of the Federal Ministry of Sports, led by the Minister, Senator John Enoh, on a courtesy visit to his office.

He said sports have long served as a unifying force that transcends boundaries and brings people together irrespective of their religious, ethic or political inclinations.

“There is also something I think that we need to talk about and that is the issue of national integration and cohesion that all of us are aspiring to achieve.

“As you look forward to the ministry to partner with you to pursue sports development, we also look forward to the Ministry of Sports Development to forge further national unity and cohesion.

“If you are in doubt of what sports can do for our country, just try to be on the streets when Nigeria is playing. Everybody forgets about North-South, South-West, North-East and North-whatever. Everybody comes together and nobody talks about the person who has scored whether he’s from my village or he’s from another village. Everybody talks about Nigeria; everyone wears the Nigerian flag on that day,” he said.

Idris said his ministry in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency seized the opportunity presented by last African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to promote a sense of patriotism by distributing the national flags to Nigerians at Football Viewing Centres across the country whenever the country was playing a match.

The Minister said in a demonstration of his unprecedented support for sports development in the country, President Tinubu took a decisive action to offset about N12 billion in salary and allowances arrears owed to sportsmen and women as well as sports administrators in order to motivate them to commit themselves to the country.

Idris believes that sports should be on the front burner of government’s priorities because of its significance role in nation building and development.

He commended the Minister of Sport, Senator Enoh, for the enthusiasm he has displayed so far in the development of sports in the country particularly the dazzling performance of the Super Eagles at the 2023 AFCON, preparations for the 2024 Olympics and the qualification of the Super Falcons for the sports fiesta in Paris, the relaunch of the Challenge Cup as the President’s Federation Cup and the elevation of Super Eagles in the FIFA ranking from 42nd position to the 30th position. 

In response to the request of the Minister of Sports for more media exposure to sporting an event in the country, Idris gave the approval to set up a committee to identify areas of collaboration between the two ministries.

In his remarks, Senator sought to partner with the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation and its media organs to promote sports in the country.

He suggested the development of calendar for sporting events as a guide for the public media organs to amplify them through media visibility.

He mentioned the National Sports Festival coming up this year in Ogun State, the National Youth Games in Asaba and the Para Games as some of the major events coming up this year.

Senator Enoh lauded President Tinubu creating a specific Ministry for sports, saying the vision is in line with the significance of sports in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Rabiu Ibrahim 

Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Information and National Orientation.

May 2, 2024