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University of Sports Bill Seeks To Reposition Sports In Nigeria: Professor Ihonvbere

A Bill for the establishment of a Federal University of Sports in Afuze, Edo State presented before the Federal House of Representatives, by Professor. Julius O. Ihonvbere, member representing Owan Federal Constituency, has been read the Third time at Plenary.

This was made known as the HOUSE received the Report of the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services.

Professor Ihonvbere has stressed on the economic importance of upgrading the facility to a federal university, as it would be a landmark in repositioning sports as a major revenue earner and employment provider in the country.

The erudite scholar cited instances of Nations whose major revenue is dependent on Sporting activities. For example, in Europe, erstwhile studies show that the Sport sector accounts for 1.76% (€175 billion) of the European Gross Value Added (GVA = Gross Domestic Product + subsidies – (direct, sales) taxes), that means that it contributes more to the economy than agriculture, forestry and fisheries combined. In addition, sport related employment represents 2.12 % of the total employment in Europe, which is about 4.5 million.

During the presentation of the Bill at the House, Professor Ihonvbere, stated that, there are about 70 units of two-bedroom flats in Afuze “Low Cost Houses” with perimeter fence, built by Brig. Gen. S. O Ogbemudia {rtd.} in 1972.

” Though they are now in a deplorable state, they were given to the National Sports Commission in 1986, but was not put to use. He recalled how then Military Governor of the Old Bendel (now Edo and Delta states), used the Afuze camp to create a crop of sports men and women that were among the very best in the world at the time.

However, due to lack of attention to the facility by successive governments, the facility has been left to rot away, while the fortunes of the country in sports have waned, resulting in fruitless journeys to Olympic Games and other global sports spectacles.

He further noted that, the Sports College at Afuze is the oldest sports institution in the country saddled with the responsibility of training and developing Coaches, Sports Managers and Athletes for the State and the nation at large.

Stressed that, the outstanding performances of Nigerian sports men and women at various Olympics and global competitions, necessitated the then Military President, General Ibrahim B. Babangida to approve the siting of Nigerian Olympic Games Village at Afuze.

The Afuze community gave a large parcel of land to the National Sports Commission measuring 148 hectares i.e. 10 kilometres by 4 kilometres for the Olympic Games Village with Certificate of Occupancy (No. EDSR 7908 in 1986). Up till date, no structure has been erected on the land with most of what is left of the Low Cost Housing estate now home to reptiles and miscreants.

Professor Ihonvbere, further proved that, the growth and socio-economic development of OWAN land and the Nation at large, remains a burning desire in his heart, as he calls for continuous support of every OWANITES.

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