So I decided to do this article over 3 weeks ago but the life a Sportspreneur is so demanding that I have not been able to put together...
So I decided to do this article over 3 weeks ago but the life a Sportspreneur is so demanding that I have not been able to put together an article in years (Only Proposals… Lol).
Well to the matter at hand, it is quite amazing that in 40 years of existence, Oyo State – The Pacesetter State is placing a major emphasis on “Sporting Activities” as confirmed by the approved budget and I believe this should not be taken lightly by well-meaning stakeholders as it may mark the beginning of greater things for Sports (and by implication the Youths) in Oyo State.
Delving into reminiscence a little shows that Oyo State though endowed with talented athletes and considerable infrastructure has not lived to her fullest potential among the States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A case in point is the National Sports Festival which after a careful analysis of performances since inception in 1973 shows that among the South Western States, Oyo ranks behind Lagos (understandably) and Ogun State (still baffles me) and generally fluctuates between 10th – 15th overall among all the States in Nigeria.
All this we know can change if indeed the State is ready to spend big on Sports in the year 2016 (with an estimated 1.7 billion Naira allocated to the sector) and not end up with the same jamboree of years past which has neither yielded in terms of unearthing talents or added to the pride and glory of the Oyo people among the Comity of States.
As a self-adduced stakeholder however, here are my 5 Strategic Ways by which the desired result can be achieved when an appraisal is done at the end of Year 2016:
1) Sports Based Youth Development Initiatives
Sports in advanced climes have been used to engage the youths positively to channel their energy productively and this can equally be adopted by Oyo State. By so doing Sports can be used to attract youths to safe and constructive activities in which they can build a career and become international Stars.
It can also be used to teach health and pro-social behavior as well as promote education, lasting social change, capacity building and community engagement.
2) Revive School Sports At All Levels
From the Primary to Secondary schools and even Tertiary Institutions, engagement of the teeming teenagers and youths in Oyo State should start right from the bottom up (A Catch Them Young Proposition). School sports have been rather dormant in the State and its revival as it used to happen in the 80s and early 90s will produce future stars for the State and for Nigeria.
It is however key that these schools sports activities must be seen to produce fresh talents and not recycle old ones or engage mercenaries.
3) Engagement Of Living Sports Legends From The State.
Be it former Super Eagles star, Mutiu Adepoju or Paralympics Gold Medalist, Yakubu Adesokan or Boxing Champion Olaide Fijabi there is a lot upcoming talents can learn from these Legends and it is time Oyo State puts their expertise to use in this light.
Mentorship is missing in Nigerian Sports but all that can change for good if these Living Legends (and many others not mentioned here) can be used to mentor fresh talents on how they can get to the summit of their chosen sport. These legends can also be used to sensitize the public (especially parents) across the 5 zones of the State on the need for them to allow their children take part in sporting activities.
4) Reformation Of 3sc And Crown Fc.
Though Sports is the focus here, Football still holds its pride of place as a unifying factor among Nigerians and indeed the Oyo people.
It is however very visible to the observant eye that the two major clubs in Oyo State are in dire need of a holistic reformation devoid of the bureaucracy and politicking that has bedeviled them in the last 10 years or more. This has led to the teams playing below par and barely playing to maintain their league status. If this is done we can begin to have a quota for homegrown talents to showcase their skills to the international media.
5) Re-Organization Of The Oyo State Sports Council
Finally but definitely the most pivotal point of this whole article is that points 1-4 above can only be achieved with a revamped and re-organized Sports Council.
With due respect to both the Board and management team of the Oyo state Sports Council in recent past, the Council has simply served as an avenue for compensating political associates of the past Governors and this has yielded little or no progress. It is time to get creative minds in there who will conceive and execute programmes which will produce sporting talents for the state and ensure their development thereof.
The impact of the Oyo State Sports Council must also be felt in other zones in the State (Ibarapa, Ogbomoso, Oke Ogun, Oyo) beyond the State capital, Ibadan.
In conclusion, the focus and drive of the Oyo State towards improved “Sporting Activities” in the State is worthy of commendation but it will amount to effort in futility if we don’t ensure that through them we can DISCOVER, DEVELOP and DEPLOY new talents in the Sports sector for International Stardom.
‘SAYO OWOLABI is a Lawyer cum Sportspreneur who works with various multinational brands (Etisalat, Multichoice, Coca Cola, Nexus et al) in creating unique Sports event and radio content. He has a passion for the development of Sports at the grassroot and is passionately pursuing it through his “SAYO (Sports And Youth Orientation) Initiative”.
He is the Creative Director of ESCALATED CONCEPT – A Media, PR and Events Company which has seen him host various sports shows on Radio/TV as well as Events pan Nigeria. He currently hosts SPORTS WRAP on Radio Continental 102.3 FM in Lagos Nigeria.