The Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, on Tuesday at the Government House, Lafia, received sport athletes who have made the State proud, sports wise.
The athletes include 10-year-old tennis player Ismail Shuaibu Usman, who won a bronze medal at the recently concluded Isah Adewale Memorial Junior Claycourt Tennis Championship for U-12/14 Boys’ and Girls’ Cadre, held in Kaduna State between 24th-28th March, 2021.
The event had over twenty States in participation, including the basketball duo of 16 year-old forward, Favour Edwin, and 15-year-old point guard, Anointed Adams, who are bound to travel to the United States of America in due course to further both their academic and basketball careers courtesy of Ejike Christopher Ogboaja Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization owned by U.S-based and former D’Tigers of Nigeria basketball player, Ejike Ogboaja.
They were discovered during the North-Central Zone’s Basketball Talent Hunt Programme facilitated by Ejike Christopher Ogboaja Foundation in collaboration with the Andoma Foundation and Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development late December, 2020, in Lafia.
While presenting the athletes to the Governor, the State’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Othman Bala Adam, explained that the move was aimed at appreciating His Excellency for his onerous contributions to sports and talents development in the Solid Minerals State.
“Your Excellency, we are here to further appreciate you for all you have been doing for sports and talents development. The Catch-Them-Young syndrome of this administration has commenced in earnest.
“We have a young boy at age ten who was able to come 3rd out of 34 States, with the exception of Lagos and Oyo who were absent at the championship.
“We are here to present these budding athletes, two of whom gained scholarship to further their career in basketball and education in America, to you, for counseling and guidance.
“This visit is also for parents in Nasarawa State to know that sport has transcended from mere leisure to a huge investment, and has been changing the fortunes of so many lives across the globe today,” the Commissioner stated.
Othman Bala added that the Ministry of Youth and Sports would continue to be uncomfortable until the “Exceeding All Expectations” mantra of the Governor A.A. Sule’s administration in the Ministry is actualized.
Overwhelmed by the development, the Governor, Abdullahi Sule, congratulated the Commissioner, his Ministry, athletes and the accompanying officials for taking Nasarawa State to the level it currently is, sportwise.
He also thanked the Andoma of Doma, HRH. Dr. Ahmadu Aliyu Ogah Onawo, for his unwavering commitment to basketball and for creating the platform for the State to get global recognition.
“Let me, from the bottom of my heart, congratulate you for achieving the height you have attained, and I must say this is unique.
“I have no doubts in my mind that this is a stepping stone to your greatness.
“Both the ATP and NBA will have amazing players in you in the shortest possible time.
“While I wish you well, going forward, be good ambassadors of the State and Nigeria, and it’s my earnest prayer that you will create great impact in your chosen sport careers and put our dear State in the global sports map.
“I want to, therefore, thank the burden bearer of the basketball scholarship, Mr. Ejike Ogboaja, for taking his time to give back to the society, and most worthy of commendation is the fact that he chose to carry out his benevolent act in Nasarawa State.”
The visitation delegation also had officials from the Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports.Other members in the entourage were Professor Maikano Ari (Executive Director, Andoma Foundation) and Ahmadu Alhaji Babanrabi(Chairman, Nasarawa State Tennis Association), and their accompanying members.
The climax of the occasion was the presentation of the scholarship letters to the two basketball players and medal to the junior tennis medalist.