Sports Development under the restoration agenda of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson
Sports Development is one way of Empowering Bayelsa Youths and Building a Healthy Citizenry. The Restoration Agenda of the Governor of Bayelsa State(Henry Seriake Dickson) will not be Complete, if we fail to highlight the Gory and almost Decayed State of our Sporting structure and its Facilities. There was total Neglect before the Restoration Team took Over, which led to the Collapse of a Once Vibrant and Promising Sporting Body. The Restoration Team once settled in, Inaugurated a Nine-man committee on sports development with a clear mandate to re-position sports in the state for improved performance.
Governor Dickson was Swift to recognize the dire Need of a Total Rebirth as it Concerns our Sports Development in the State. The Country Man Governor who is a Sports Enthusiast, decided to take it a Notch Higher, and thus the Sports Academy was Born. He made the Announcement at the swearing-in ceremony of five new Special Advisers at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House, Yenagoa. the Governor observed that the state could hold its own Forth, and also has comparative advantage in a number of sporting events. The Governor Stated Categorically that, the Sports Academy would provide the youths of the state the ample opportunity to acquire formal education, as well as develop their skills in sporting activities. While inaugurating the sports development committee, Governor Dickson said the setting up of the committee is to underscore the importance his administration attaches to sports.
This Focus Body would become the rallying point in sports development. the Governor noted that sports can be used to harness the services of youths and serve as a unifying factor and also promote healthy living. it has become imperative for the state to fashion out a robust sports development policy. Since Bayelsa state has comparative advantage in a good number of multiple-medal sports, there is no reason why Bayelsa should not be a fore-runner in sports. The committee was charged with mapping out plans to establish a befitting sports academy, identifying sports in which the state has comparative advantage and making recommendations on how the identified sports can be promoted for the over-all benefit of the state. The new committee would be responsible for the re-organizing and sensitization of all sports organs, for the realizable achievement of excellent performance in sports and finally work out ways of ensuring awareness and mass participation of Bayelsans in sports. A Local Content Capacity Development Institute, Asuama in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area is to serve as temporary facility for the Sports Academy. Construction of a befitting world class Sports Academy in the State is Ongoing.
Why would Bayelsa State need an academy?
The Rationale behind the establishment of the Sports academy was, to produce an army of champions in our young men and women of the state as the move was to harness their talents, and Steer them away from criminal tendencies. The Governor highlighted Governments Readiness to construct a world class sports academy which is billed to take off as soon as the 2012 Appropriation bill is passed into law. Governor Dickson said he was gratified by the participation of 5 Bayelsans at the just concluded Olympics games in London, on account of which, he directed the Ministry of Sports and the committee to work out modalities that would enable him provide the necessary backing to excel.
On sports development outside the capital city Yenagoa,the chairman of the Sports Development Committee, Mr. Daniel Igali recommended that government should establish recreational parks and mini sports centers in various parts of the state for mass involvement of persons in sports.
He stressed the need for government to re-structure the sports ministry by creating new departments as well as appoint Boards of the state owned football clubs. For the sake of continuity and accountability, Secretaries of the clubs would be appointed from the sports council. Taking this into Cognizance, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson called on youths in the state to channel their energies to sporting activities and eschew negative tendencies associated with cultism and hard drugs.
To this end, the Ministry of Sports was directed to set up sports development committees in all the Local Government Areas to scout for budding talents who will be groomed to stardom. According to Hon. Dickson, the major focus will be in sporting events where the State has comparative advantage such as swimming, football; wrestling and other combat sports to enable them win laurels for the state and country in future. As part of measures to harness the sporting potentials of the young ones towards making positive contributions in sports, the Governor also announced the appointment of Mr. Friday Bayelayefa as Senior Special Assistant on Sports Development. He stated that contracts have been awarded for the Sports Academy which would be completed soon and would commence the selection of youths who will make a career out of sports adding that, contract has also been awarded for the maintenance and Upgrading of sporting facilities at the Samson Siasia Stadium.
Immortalizing sports heros can help build the Image of the Citizens. In pursuance of its policy of celebrating Ijaw Sports heroes, the Bayelsa State Government will build a sports hall of fame to immortalize its sportsmen and women who have made the state proud. The Governor, who directed the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmund Allison-Oguru to set up a Committee to work towards the realization of the project before the end of the year, noted that the move is to inspire the youths to develop deep interest in sports. The Governor also directed a renowned sports analyst, Mr. Ebi Avi whom he described as having a vast knowledge in sports to work closely with the sports ministry on the project especially in the area of documenting the achievements of the champions. Bayelsa is replete with abundant human resources that could be harnessed to become national, continental and international champions. While emphasizing the need for the state to concentrate on sports where it has comparative advantage such as swimming and wrestling, Governor Dickson directed the sports ministry to inaugurate sports development committees in all the local government areas with the aim of identifying budding talents.
Similarly, top-class football coaches from different parts of the world would help identify talented youths, who will be placed in top football clubs in the world will be Invited to the State. Governor Dickson therefore called on the youths to take advantage of the programme by registering with the sports ministry, noting that the state government has resolved to identify and invest in an Athlete that will win a medal for Nigeria at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Assuring athletes who would be representing the state at this year’s National Sports Festival in Lagos in November, the Governor charged them to put up a brilliant performance that would make the state proud.
Highlighting some of the Sports ministry’s achievements Under the Restoration Agenda, the Commissioner for Sports announced that Bayelsa United Football Club had gained promotion to play in the Nigerian Premier League in the next Football season, while Bayelsa Queens are placed second on the National Women’s league table. while In wrestling, he said the team which represented the state at the just concluded wrestling championship in Enugu won 19 out of 21 gold medals. Chief Obodor who announced that government has awarded contract for the construction of a world-class Polo sport facility in Yenagoa, and Construction was in top gear.
So much has Happened within this few Months in the sports development of Bayelsa state. There is no Doubt that the Giant Strides of our Efficient Governor and Leader of the Restoration Team in the Area of Sports Development in Bayelsa State is a Welcome Development

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