Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State has urged sports-writers to re-brand Nigeria at the 2010 January Nations Cup in Angola and the World Cup in South Africa, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
Alao-Akala made the call on Thursday in Ibadan at the Gala/Award ceremony of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Oyo State Chapter.
He said that brushing Nigeria’s image at the two international competitions through their write-ups would brighten the country’s chances of getting the hosting right of an international sports fiesta.
Alao-Akala, represented by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Joe Makanjuola, also urged the sportswriters not to be biased in the coverage of events at the competitions.
“Actual reportage of events at the two competitions will no doubt accord respect to your profession and also give more respect to the nation,’” he said.
Alao-Akala, who was honoured with the Grand Patron of the association in the state, said the government would not relent in its efforts at developing sports in the state.
“The Durbar Stadium in Oyo and the Ogbomoso Township stadium have been upgraded to modern status in our bid to develop sports at the grassroots,’” he said
He added that facilities at the Olubadan and Lekan Salami Stadia in Ibadan had also been upgraded.
According to him, the government is also determined to revive sports in the public and privately-owned schools in the state.
The governor then, commended the state association for honouring him and pledged the government’s cordial relationship with the association.
The chairman of the state branch of SWAN, Salem Akindele-Rock, thanked individuals, corporate bodies and the government for making the SWAN week a huge success.
Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), was honoured as the ‘Grand Commander of Sports’ in the state at the ceremony.
Makanjuola, Alhassan Yakmut, Secretary, Nigeria Premier League, Ndubuisi Okorie, Chairman, Oyo State Cycling Association were honoured with “outstanding Sports Administrators of the year.
Also given the honour are:
- David Suleiman, chairman, Niger Tornadoes and Mutiu Adepoju.
- John Obuh, former coach of the National U-17 and now coach of National U-20 was named the Coach of the Year.
- Yakub Adesokan, who the power lifting at the National Sports Festival in Kaduna was named Sportsman of the Year.
- Victoria Gabriel, who won the first Gold medal for Oyo State at the festival, was also named the Sportswoman of the Year.