Osun to build a veritable sports economy

Based on the high commitment of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to sports and as part of his development agenda for the State of Osun, the government has embarked on a sectorial restructuring towards delivering the gains of sports to the people and building a veritable sports economy on the long term.

The State Government is also set to leverage on the convergence of sports and education to facilitate sports development in the State.

Speaking in an interview, the Honorable Commissioner for Youths and Sports in the State of Osun, Mr Yemi Lawal, said that the future of sports in the state was bright, especially considering that Governor Oyetola was highly committed to seeing sporting activities become very big in Osun.

Commenting on the methodology of the State Government, Lawal said: ¡°One of the  focus of the government is to engage the people at the grassroots. We want to take sports to every corner of the State, we want to identify talents, nurture them, make them profitable and useful, and make them international.¡±

To achieve this, Lawal said that the government was planning the appointment of at least one sports organizer in each local government area, who wiould identify the sporting activities available in each local government area and recommend the talents discovered at the grassroots for adoption as the state¡¯s performing athletes.

He continued: ¡°We have facilities in quite a number of sports, but we do not have the same level of facilities across every local government. So, we want to look at the peculiarities of each local government and see how we can harness the opportunities we have there. That is the responsibility of the sports organizer in each local government area¡±.

Speaking on the availability of sporting facilities in the State, Lawal said  that: ¡°The government is committed to ensuring the completion of the stadium at Osogbo, which shall be commissioned soon. That aside, the immediate past administration in Osun built some mega schools that have sporting facilities. So, we can say that we have facilities across every local government to facilitate sporting activities¡±.

In another development, Lawal, while reacting to the news that has been making the rounds about the State Government abruptly stopping the salaries of athletes and contract coaches of Osun United and Osun Babes Football Clubs, said that the situation with the football clubs is part of the restructuring process of the sports sector in the State.

He said: ¡°The government has discovered a lot of irregularities in the management of the clubs, and has decided to overhaul the system. Having discovered that there have been a lot of sharp practices (part of which was indiscriminate changing of names and figures on payment schedule for the clubs), we decided to stop the entire process to see how we can restructure and bounce back better.

¡°In the course of doing this, we went as far as checking with the Corporate Affairs Commissions for the registration details of the clubs and discovered that Osun United was never registered  in the name of the State Government; rather it was registered in the name of four individuals who have made Osun government  sponsor a team that does not belong to it.

¡°We have tried to contact these four individuals but have been unable to get through to them. We are trying to work out how we can transfer the ownership of the club to the State. Untiil that is done, we cannot do anything with Osun United¡±, Lawal stated.

Lawal added that the State Government under the leadership of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola did not owe any of the athletes and contract coaches salaries prior to the commencement of the restructuring.

Lawal also assured stakeholders that the real athletes who should derive benefits from the State Government will not be made to suffer. Rather, the government will ensure that the real athletes are reintegrated after proper identification, while those who should not be in the system will be expunged.

He continued: ¡°We are definitely going to own football teams, especially to have a platform for the projection of own homegrown talents. We might even end up taking over Osun United, but we are currently restructuring, and as soon as we are done with the process, the world we see the outcome of this rigorous process¡±.

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