THREE YEARS AT A GLANCE: X-RAYING THE IMPACTS OF THE GOVERNOR ABDULLAHI SULE-LED ADMINISTRATION AT THE NASARAWA STATE MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMENT

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The Sule Administration came on board on 29th May, 2019 after winning the March 2019 Governorship election in Nasarawa State, becoming the 4th democratically elected administration in the 26-year-old State.

About three years down the line, the Sule Administration is reputed to have made tremendous achievements in virtually all aspects of human endeavours, which, hitherto, are having gigantic effects in the physical, economic, technological and social features of the State.

The transparent, accountable and prudent leadership of the Sule-led Government hasn’t left any stone unturned in the State’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, which is one of the largest Ministries in the State, both by structure and workforce.

Since the assumption of office of Governor Engr. Abdullahi Sule, there have been a total of two Commissioners and four Permanent Secretaries who have headed and still heading the Ministry, with the fourth Permanent Secretary being a Covering Permanent Secretary, pending the appointment of a substantive one.

Though the Home of Solid Minerals, Nasarawa State has, however, achieved so much and impacted enormously in the youth and sports sector both in the State and in Nigeria and will continue to do so in the years to come as the Administration’s poise is to make the State a hub for youth and sports development in Nigeria.

  1. Nasarawa State has produced some of the best regional, national and global sportsmen and women as well as youth for podium height appearance.

As the Governor approaches three years in office, in no special hierarchy or order, we highlight some of the major achievements of his Administration at the State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

  1. It’s on record that the likes of Christabel Daniel, Bridget Gata, Chioma Ani, Beauty Timothy, Favour Aboki and Maryam Umar all won various medals for Nasarawa State at National and International Karate Championships in 2019.
  2. In Taekwondo, Ihuo Louisa Leady won Silver medal during the Best-of-the-Best Tournament in Abuja.
  3. Also, at the Governor Nyesom Wike Wrestling Championship held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, the duo of Tularam Mamman and Albert Mbodi won Bronze Medals for Team Nasarawa, while Beauty Timothy won one Bronze Medal at the 7th African Kung-Fu Wushu Championship held in Dakar, Senegal.
  4. Mustapha Mohammed won one Bronze Medal at the Para-Power(Aisha Muhammadu Buhari)Championship held in Abuja, even as the duo of Idris Nuhu and Zubairu Haruna won Silver and Bronze Medals respectively at the Plateau State Governor’s Golf Cup.
  5. In football, the women’s Football Club, Nasarawa Amazons, lifted the 2019 Aiteo Federation Cup(Women’s category) after beating Rivers Angels FC in the final in Kaduna, and are currently on the verge of winning their third league title after topping both Groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ standings with 27 points at the recently concluded 2021/22 Nigeria Women’s Football League Premiership, and will be playing in the Super Six in Benin City, Edo State in May, 2022, to determine the eventual winners of the current campaign.
  6. Also, the State’s men’s football club, Nasarawa United, defeated El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri to win the 3rd Edition of the Ahlan Preseason Tournament Cup in kano, in 2019.
  7. Nasarawa State has played host to many successful state-wide, regional and national sporting championships, including the Federation of Public Service Games, FEPSGA, held in Lafia, in 2019, with over two thousand participants cutting across over thirty Federal MDAs.
  8. In his bid to curtail emergencies on and off the field, His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Sule, procured a brand new, well-equipped ambulance for Nasarawa United FC and secured the services of a medical consultant and professional doctor to work with the state-owned men’s football club.

i). Also, the Governor provided special intervention funds for the rescue of Nasarawa United FC from relegation in August 8th, 2020;

ii). Massively improved the welfare of the coaching, playing and backroom staff of the Club including approving paying them Enhanced Salaries for optimum performance;

iii). Offset the death benefits of Late Chineme Martins who passed away in the course of playing for the State-owned football club, Nasarawa United, on March 8th, 2020, among other related indemnities running into millions of Naira, all cleared.

iv). Nasarawa United emerged runners-up at the 2021 Aiteo Federation Cup final held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo State, out of over 37 participating Clubs from the 36 States of the Federation and FCT, Abuja, during which period the Club produced the Most Valuable Player of the competition in Goalkeeper, Mohammed Galadima.

v). Silas Nwankwo, during his spell with Nasarawa United FC, emerged as joint-top highest goalscorer with nineteen goals in the 2020/21 NPFL Season as well as Best Male Player Based in Nigeria Award conferred on him by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in conjunction with Aiteo Group, sponsors of the Aiteo Federation Cup(FA Cup).

vi). The Governor, also procured a befitting multi-million naira administrative office and camp house for the men’s football club in line with the requirement of the Nigerian Professional Football League standard, a facility that is currently undergoing reconstruction.

  1. For the first time in the history of the State, two team sports(Basketball Women and Hockey Men)qualified for the Edo 2020(which was later played in 2021) National Sports Festival at the Zonal Eliminations held in Ilorin, Kwara State, during which 28 of the State’s young athletes discovered in Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Hockey and Handball, were thereafter invited to various age-grades national camps.
  2. The Administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule has equally developed local championships in virtually all sports, especially in athletics, Judo, Tennis, Kokuwa, Para-Sports, Golf, Karate, and Hockey, aimed at talents hunt and for podium appearance. This, too, is without contradictions, the first of their kind since the creation of the State.
  3. Plans have already been concluded to re-introduce the long-forgotten Governor’s Cup aimed at talent discovery in football, in active collaboration with the State’s ALGON.
  4. For the first time in the history of the State, the Sule Administration is gathering data of the State’s teeming unemployed youth to assist the Government in getting an accurate data-base that could aid in a conscious and deliberate planning of skills and capacity building for the youth to make them self-reliant and more employable.
  5. The State’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, under the pragmatic leadership of its Commissioner, Hon. Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, is in active and constant collaboration with NGOs and other Agencies to expose youth of the State to skills acquisition programmes, capacity building and leadership trainings, among others.

i). Case in point: A Renewable Energy Company, ASTEVEN, agreed to train 50 youth in the State on renewable energy installation, maintenance and equally equipping the trainees with necessary entrepreneurial etiquettes in line with 21st Century standard.

  1. In September, 2020, Team Nasarawa Para Athletes won the 2nd edition of the North-Central Zonal Para-athletics Championship held in Abuja.
  2. In October, 2020, Team Nasarawa Karate came 4th overall best at the KFN South-East Karate Championship held in Enugu State.
  3. Then in November, 2020, the State’s Para-Soccer team came 2nd at the World Polio Day National Para-Soccer Championship held in Abuja.
  4. The 2nd Edition of the Governor A.A Sule Akwanga Open Tennis Championship was successfully held in August, 2020 at the Hard Court of Kini Country Guests’ Inn.

i). The State Government also successfully hosted the Governor Abdullahi Sule Maiden Lafia Open Tennis Championship in Lafia from 26th-28th February, 2022

  1. Nasarawa State successfully participated at the National Cadet Tennis Championship held in Kaduna State in 2020, where the State won the Fair Play Award.
  2. Louis Hanin picked the Runner-up Gross medal after coming 2nd at the Ladies Open 2020 Golf Championship which ran from 5th-7th November, 2020, at the Lamingo Golf Course, Jos, Plateau State.
  3. In December, 2020, the Maiden edition of the Governor A.A. Sule National Darts Championship was held in Lafia with States of the Federation participating.

i). That championship opened the vista for the introduction of Darts Sport in some selected Secondary Schools across the three Senatorial Zones of the State in March 8th, 2021.

  1. Also in December 2020, Nasarawa State successfully hosted the Ejike Christopher Ogboaja Foundation Basketball/NFL Talent Hunt Programme in collaboration with the Andoma Foundation and Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, where talents discovered from the tournament were offered professional and academic scholarships both in Nigeria and the United States of America, respectively.
  2. As a way of rewarding excellence and boost morale ahead of future championships, His Excellency, Gov. Engr. Abdullahi Sule donated millions of Naira as cash rewards to athletes, coaches and some accompanying officials of the State who distinguished themselves at various sporting fiestas across the country and beyond since his assumption in office.

Case in point: Eche Amos(PRO, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development cum Media Officer of Nasarawa United FC) won three major National Awards as Best Media Officer and PR Officer of the Year in 2021/22; Esther Obille Allu emerged as Best Judo Referee while Zainab Sule led the Nasarawa State Hockey Team to winning Gold Medal at the 2021 National Youth Games held in Ilorin, Kwara State.

The Governor handsomely rewarded all three including gifting Eche Amos with a brand new car.

  1. The Governor used his veto power by handing over the Lafia City Hall to the State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development upon request, and renamed it “Nasarawa State Sports Arena”, a facility that, hitherto, accommodates plethora of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities and capable of hosting major local, national and international sporting championships, a decision applauded by critical stakeholders who said the facility would help in massive revenue drive for the State.
  2. Furthermore, in the bid to produce athletes and coaches ready to compete favourably with their counterparts around the globe, the Governor awarded contract for the refurbishment of the Lafia City Stadium including laying of new playing turf, laying of Tartan Tracks and construction of befitting Hockey pitch, Handball and Volleyball Courts; rehabilitation of the Keffi Mini Stadium, while offsetting the demurrage of Basry Sports Kits and Equipment as the State took delivery of the multi-million Naira worth of sports kits and equipment freight.
  3. The State Government procured two 56-seater luxurious buses and donated one each to Nasarawa United FC and Nasarawa Amazons FC, respectively, to ease their travelling and other logistics needs, as well as promptly releasing funds to both teams to prosecute their league games.
  4. The Sule Administration provided funds for the training and retraining of youth in various Vocational and Skills Acquisition programmes as well as Empowerment Schemes, including the Burnt Bricks Empowerment Programme for over five hundred unemployed youth and women in the State.
  5. His Excellency also approved adequate funds for the Youth, Sports Federation of Nigeria, YSFON, Nasarawa State U-13 Team, to participate at the 38th and 39th editions of the Ramat YSFON National U-13 Championship, in Kano State in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
  6. Equally, too, there are a few laudable youth-related programmes initiated by the State Ministry of Youth and Sports to tackle youth-related issues, namely:

(a). The Grassroots Mop-Up Initiative, GMI, aimed at identifying and harnessing the raw potentials that abound in the state for national and international podium appearances.

i). Through this initiative, the Governor approved funds for the purchase of seven hundred pieces of football which were donated to seven hundred local football clubs across the State tagged “One Team, One Ball Initiative” held from 22nd to 30th March, 2021.

ii). The Sule Administration also sponsored the successful hosting and completion of the Emir of Uke Grassroots Football Tournament in Karshi Development Area on 9th October, 2019; and an FA- organized grassroots football tournament.

(b). The Youth-Support Initiative, YSI, which seeks to address unemployment among the youth population in the state.

This opens the doors for interconnection and communication between youth and the Government and aims at empowering them in job creation strategies.

i). Through this initiative, the Government facilitated the training of five hundred youth as Ambassadors of Peace in partnership with Action Aid Nigeria at St. John Bosco’s Secondary School, Doma, on 13th September, 2021.

ii). Equally, too, the Sule Administration sponsored Sixty-five Nasarawa State Engineering Students to the National Engineering Conference and Annual General Meeting in Abuja in October 30th, 2021.

(iii). Provided and continues to provide funds for prosecution of activities of Nasarawa State Students’ Association, NASSA.

(c). The Sports Development Fund, SDF, which makes it incumbent upon any Government organisation or company operating in the State to commit, at least, one per cent of every contract sum to support the development of retired athletes or coaches who have served the State meritoriously, or their families, in the case of death.

i). The Sule Administration also launched the Document on Youth Action Plan on the Domestication and Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution(UNSCR 2250) and Close Out Event(SARVE 11 Project).

  1. Team Nasarawa returned from the 20th National Sports Festival held in Benin City, Edo State, from 2nd-15th April, 2021, winning a total of twenty-two medals, which include five Gold, four Silver and thirteen Bronze medals, to emerge 18th on the final medal table, and 5th best Northern State at the biennial national multi-sports fiesta.

It’s one of the best sporting outings of Team Nasarawa in recent times.

  1. The present Administration also facilitated the procurement of adequate kits and training wares for Nasarawa United FC and Nasarawa Amazons FC for their league games.
  2. In 2022, Under the Administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule, the Nasarawa State Karate Team emerged 4th overall best and 2nd Best State from Northern Nigeria at the Maiden National Strata Base Open Karate Championship held at the Civic Centre, Port- Harcourt, Rivers State from 16th-20th February, winning a total of eight medals comprising one Gold, three Silver and four Bronze Medal, to come only behind Delta, Anambra and FCT, Abuja respectively.

i). Team Nasarawa Karate also came 2nd Best at the Maiden Japanese Ambassador’s National Karate Championship held at the Package ‘B’ of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, from 6th-9th April, 2022, winning five Gold, and four Silver Medals, accordingly, to come behind FCT, Abuja.

  1. Nasarawa State emerged runners-up at the 5th Inter-secondary School National Deaf Football Championship tagged “Ganduje Cup” held in Kano from 26th of February to 9th March, 2022, losing to Kwara State 2-1 in the final.
  2. The Sule Government facilitated the hosting of a two-day Sensitisation Workshop on Drug Abuse held from 1st to 7th April, 2021, in selected Secondary Schools across the three Senatorial Zones of the State.
  3. His Excellency, Governor Abdullahi Sule, fulfilled his pledges to Keffi Ten Wards Youth Development Association Graduation Ceremony held on 18th March, 2021, and other numerous Youth Organisations and Associations in the State.
  4. Furthermore, the Government facilitated the successful hosting of the National Youth Day Celebration in Nasarawa State on 27th October, 2020.
  5. The Government renovated the Magaji Dan Yamusa NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, in Keffi, in September, 2020, and promised to attend to recent requests by the Scheme to come to their rescue in some urgent needs.

i). The Sule Administration successfully hosted a two-day meeting of NYSC Management with Representatives of the State Governments in October 22nd, 2019.

ii). The Administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule promptly pays monthly stipend of five thousand Naira(₦5,000) to serving Corps Members in the State.

  1. Team Nasarawa excelled at the First National Para-Sports Festival held in Abuja from 5th-15th June, 2022, winning a total of Sixteen medals comprising four Gold, six Silver and six Bronze.
  2. The State Government sponsored and supported the activities of various Youth Organisations and their leadership struggles for State, Regional, National and International Programmes, including hosting the inauguration of the leadership of Youth Assembly of Nigeria(3rd Republic), where the National Speaker was presented with an official vehicle;

i). Donated a brand new vehicle to then Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, Nasarawa State Chapter, Comr. Idris Ojoko, over his election as Chairman of States’ Chairmen of the Association, to mention but a few.

  1. The Governor also provided funds for Sanitization Campaign on the Dangers of Political Thuggery and Violence Among Youth on 31st January, 2022.
  2. The Governor provided funds for the replacement of office equipment and items at the Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to enhance good working environment and improve productivity.
  3. He facilitated a Special Monitoring and Life Enhancement Programme for Youth Living with Disabilities in the State on 11th March, 2021.
  4. Nasarawa State successfully hosted the 2020/21 Convention of the National Association of Nigeria Students, Zone ‘C’ in February 1, 2021.
  5. The Government procured full set of mobile and convertible Basketball Court in October 12, 2020 to boost Basketball sport in the State.
  6. The Governor approved funds for the sponsorship of an Awareness Campaign Tour and Security Summit across the five Council Areas of Nasarawa Western Senatorial Zone in September, 2020.
  7. His Excellency facilitated the successful hosting of the Nigeria Red Cross Society National First Aid Competition in Akwanga on 21st October, 2019.
  8. The Government of Governor Abdullahi Sule facilitated the installation of LED Floodlights at the Lafia City Stadium on January 1st, 2022 to encourage night sporting activities.
  9. The Governor graciously approved funds for a statewide tour and consultations with various Youth Groups and Traditional Rulers for the purpose of creating awareness on peaceful co-existence and collaborate with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to build a better Nasarawa State.
  10. The Sule Administration also provided funds to the leadership of Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Nasarawa State Chapter, to attend the Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the National body of the Association, in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State in 2019.
  11. The Sule Administration also donated plot of land to Mo Foundation for the construction of a befitting Basketball Court at Keffi to boost Basketball activities in the State.
  12. Governor Abdullahi Sule provided funds for the successful hosting of the 2020/21 Nigerian Women’s Football League Premiership curtain raiser between Nasarawa Amazons versus FC Robo of Lagos.

The league’s curtain raiser saw critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s football in attendance.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the above achievements are a tip of the iceberg as there are numerous other achievements of the Sule Administration through the State’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Development but space and time won’t permit to highlight them all.

However, the Government continues to work round the clock to attain more achievements in line with its slogan of “Exceeding All Expectations.”

While we wish the Sule Administration a happy 3rd Anniversary Celebration in Office on May 29th, 2022, it’s our earnest hope and prayer that it continues to impact more meaningfully on the welfare of the citizens and State in general.

Equally, too, as a Ministry, we will continue to rally round the Sule Administration to succeed in all ramifications.

Long Live Governor Abdullahi A. Sule!

Long Live Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development!!

Long Live Nasarawa State!!!

And Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!!

….Written And Compiled By Eche Amos, PRO, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development

14/05/2022

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