By Attahiru Ibrahim
It’s often held that words are easier said than done, and this translates to the fact that it takes perhaps an extraordinary will, courage and determination to impact lives with a long-lasting legacies.
Above expression best describes the giant strides of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in the area of Sports development in Kwara State in the last three years.
And as someone who believes in the connection between youths development and Sports, the Governor has left no stone unturned in breathing a new life into the Sporting Arena in the State.
Three years down the line, the Governor has touched virtually all the spheres of Sports sector with strategic interventions thus creating a leverage for talented youths to find their bearings and footings in their choice of Sports.
Some of the achievements which has earned Governor AbdulRazaq deserving accolades since emergence include the following:
Staging of Kwara Sports Festival
Among many other things, history and posterity will be kind to the Governor for staging the Kwara Sports Festival 15 years after it was last organised. Such was indeed the best way to announce himself as a Sports Loving Governor.
It was indeed a celebration of great potentials that abound the State as athletes from all the 16 local governments area converged on the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin to showcase their talents.
The festival in its essence would eventually serve as the motivation that birthed one of the best results the State will achieve at the National Sports festival in the recent times.
The last National Sports festival which held in Edo State saw Kwara amassing a total number of 44 medals.
In the same vein, Kwara State contingent showed class in the last National Youth Games held at the University of Ilorin as the State achieved an all time high results by finishing 6th on the final table with 32 medals.
Acquiring of NPFL ticket for Kwara United
It took the daring courage of the Governor to acquire an NPFL ticket for Kwara United after its relegation to the second tier league (NNL) where he met the club.
His continuous support to the State darling team has seen it regaining its deserved status among the comity of top clubs in the Country.
As a way of easing the attendant challenges in the transportation of players to match centres across the Country, the Governor in the last three years has presented two new coaster buses to the team.
Creation of the Sports Commission
The creation of Kwara State Sports Commission was one of the interventions of the Governor to chart a new path for Sports development in the State.
After a painstaking consultation with the stakeholders and evidence based prospects, the Governor established the commission as a way of giving a new direction for Sports in the State.
The commission which has since gone to work have been making concerted and informed efforts towards building a virile, proactive and effective sporting environment in the State.
As a Technocrat, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq understands the significance of facilities in the chain of productivity, hence his aggressive efforts at changing the face of the existing Sports facilities in order to help athletes perfect their skills and also generate revenue for the State.
Among many facilities that has witnessed a facelift under the current administration are:
Renovation of Adewole Baseball and Softball park
One of the first major interventions of Governor AbdulRazaq man when he came on board was the renovation of the Baseball and Softball Park in Adewole.
Renovation of Swimming Pool, Volleyball and Handball Courts
While the swimming pool is currently being renovated to a world standard level, both volleyball and handball courts have since been retouched in order to add more value to the games and also affords the athletes opportunity to train adequately and also attract competitions of note to the State.
Construction of new Squash Courts and Table Tennis Hall
The Governor in his bid to reposition Sports in the State is currently building the biggest Squash courts in the whole of West Africa. Eight in total, the courts would serve as hub for talents to develop.
Another gigantic project ongoing is the constitution of a new Table Tennis Hall. The Hall which will house many facilities will enable the ping pong game to grow among the youths and also earn the State another generations of players that will do her proud both nationally and Internationally.
Approval of the renovation of the Kwara State Stadium complex and Olofa Township Stadiums
The major stadia in the State will soon be witnessing a facelift in a bid to make them more attractive to the outside world.
Renovation of these stadia will in no small measure aid the development of football at the grassroots level and also expose a lot of promising talents opportunities to take their careers to the highest level.
Governor Abdulrahman hasn’t only prioritized the repositioning of Sports in the State, he has also ensured that the welfare of athletes remains a top agenda in his drive for Sports development. Such were the manifestation of the results the State contingents had achieved in national tournaments.
No doubt, the Sports sector in the last three years has witnessed a remarkable development and turnaround which will continue to be a reference points in the annals of Kwara history.
With all these achievements and many more coming, Kwarans would definitely find it pleasing and fulfilling to re-elect Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for another four years as the popular saying goes, one good term deserves another.
Alhaji Attahiru Ibrahim is the Special Adviser on Sports and Youths Development to Kwara State Governor