Nigerians have been urged to diversify the nation’s economy by seeking new and sustainable channels that will turn around the fortunes embedded in Sports.
Minister of Sports Development Sen. John Enoh dropped the hint at the sixth Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit held in Abuja.
Enoh in a statement issued by NIDCOM’s Gabriel Odu maintained that Nigeria has the potential to grow its GDP enormously through various avenues, particularly in sports.
He stated that Nigeria is a brand in the sports business, in areas like football, athletics, boxing and mixed martial arts, with its talents scattered across the world.
The Sports Minister further explained that sports can be converted into sports tourism which provides a win-win situation for the country, in terms of Diaspora Direct Investment (DDI) and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), GDP growth, job opportunities, industrialisation and reduction in youth rascalities, crimes and criminalities.
In his words: “Sports can transform the lives of individuals. It bolsters physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being and development.”
“At the same time, sport plays a significant role in cultures and communities around the world. These factors alone justify investment in sports. But there is also a growing understanding that sports” programs merit support because they are powerful vehicles for achieving broader goals, particularly in advancing development and peace agendas,” he said.
He emphasised that this can only happen if the country does partner with Nigerians in the Diaspora, that have the resources, experts and global exposure in this field.
He stressed further that with Diaspora partnership, training centres and learning skills in sports-related courses will be advanced, more youths will be encouraged to take up jobs in sports and there will be large funding for research and welfare packages, such as pension for veteran coaches, players and other sports professionals in the Nigerian sports industry.
He added that when such collaboration is made available, Nigeria can have the full capacity to host international tournaments and sports festivals, that will boost the country’s tourism sector.
The Minister agreed that the choice of theme, “New Vistas, New Aspirations and New Visions: Diaspora and National Development”, is very apt, given that it presents itself at a time, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was sworn-in in May, is poised to redefine every sector of Nigeria’s economy, including Sports development, to greatness.
“Our President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the APC ran a presidential campaign premised on Hope for a Better Future” laden with a promise to revamp the cross-sector of the Nigerian economy and the social lives of Nigerians”.
“In line with these, Nigerians have begun to see the decoupling of hydra-headed administrative nomenclatures that have seen to why there has been no national progress over the years”.
“The sports ministry has benefited from these adjustments as it is no longer a Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, but solely the Federal Ministry of Sports Development”, he said.
The Minister said sports, diaspora and development, critical elements to sustainable growth of the economy.