By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has advised the Federal Government to remove political considerations from sports if it desires to make the best of the abundant talents in the country.
He said political interference in sports would always affect the advancement of the sector, adding that the sector should be led by only seasoned administrators to man the sector professionally.
According to Wike, the random selection of persons to satisfy quota consideration has frustrated the growth of sports on an enduring scale.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, Wike, whom was at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, to watch the season-ending Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) match between Rivers United and Gombe United Club, said: “Let us remove politics from sports. Let’s go for the best. NFF, the Super Eagles, Falcons, we must do things based on merit, getting those who are qualified.
‘Let us not say, take this from East, take from South, take from West, and take from North in order to make up the list, no. That won’t be the best for us.
‘I want to tell Nigerians to know that sports should go beyond politics. Sports should not be confined to the political arena. We should allow people who have the talents, we should allow people who have the capacity to develop sports in Nigeria on board.’
Governor Wike expressed delight over Rivers United F.C. victory as champions of the Nigerian League, affirming that putting a winning team together required firm leadership.
‘When I came on board in 2015, we had Sharks Football Club of Port Harcourt and also Eagle Cement Football Club. I said, this is one state and for now (then), it is important to put our talents together so we will have a formidable team.
‘It was not easy to achieve that and we didn’t expect it to be easy that way. But we thank God today that all our efforts have been fruitful in seeing that we have won the Nigerian League.
‘So, leadership is key in everything you’re doing and if you don’t have that leadership, it would not have been possible for us.”
He promised to support Rivers United’s campaign in the CAF Champions League, saying that his administration has done the best it can for sports development in the state.
Also speaking at the event, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, said it is exciting for him to witness the emergence of Rivers United as champions of the Nigerian League.
‘I think what is happening today is exciting for me. 20 games and 10 clubs playing their final game and we are here to watch Rivers United being crowned the leader of the premier league. I think it is exciting,’ he said.