Sign Up

Sign In

Forgot Password

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email.

You must login to ask question.

You must login to add post.

Sola Aiyepekun: Bringing Super Eagles back to Lagos is significant

 

*Says we’re laying solid foundation for sustainable sports development in Lagos

During the week, our Deputy Sports Editor, Jacob Ajom had a brief chat with the Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepekun, in his office located at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. The LSSC boss spoke on a variety of issues, including the quiet reforms he has initiated for sports development in Lagos. Excerpts.

How has it been so far?

So far so good, plenty of challenges. When I look back and try to surmise how long we have been here, I realise that I haven’t worked up to a year, given the time loss during the pandemic months. I started in 2019 and after five months, from March to somewhere around October, no activity. Having said that, it has been quite challenging but very interesting and quite productive as well.

The major issue this year is the National Sports Festival. In your opinion, should it go ahead?

It’s not my place to say. I was part of the committee set up by the Honourable Minister of Sports last year to look at the possibility or otherwise of holding the Festival. As at that time, we all thought it should go ahead, and we were all prepared for the February date we had. Lagos State athletes had already gone to camp before the latest cancellation. I think the states want Festival to go ahead and the athletes, in particular, want it to go ahead.

 

Remember, some athletes require the Sports Festival for qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, so there are very many benefits for it happening.

How prepared is Lagos?

As prepared as anybody else can be. We have been preparing for over a year now. We can only prepare as much as we know. So we are prepared and geared towards the new dates.

Would the problem of poaching have any effect on Team Lagos?

Remember, some athletes require the Sports Festival for qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, so there are very many benefits for it happening. How prepared is Lagos? As prepared as anybody else can be. We have been preparing for over a year now. We can only prepare as much as we know. So we are prepared and geared towards the new dates.

Would the problem of poaching have any effect on Team Lagos?

Secondly and most significantly, we are in the process of re-inserting sports back into schools. From next term, there will be a pilot programme, and from next session, school sports in Lagos will be back fully in the educational curriculum and we have had meetings with the ministry of Education and partnership with the Honourable Commissioner for Education and SUBEB who handle the primary schools. We are ready to organise competitions at this level. We have indeed, moved very far. The structure has to change. All over the world, sports is run as a multi-billion Dollar industry but here it is still being run as an aside. In many developed countries, sports contribute to the GDP but here, there is not even a policy for sports in the country. So it behooves on us, as a leading state in the country, to take the bull by the horns and establish the fundamentals. For instance, we have begun work on a sports policy, the draft will soon be ready. This is part of the fundamentals because if you don’t create the fundamentals, how can sports be sustainable? We have had numerous sports policies in the past but the major problem has been implementation, as every new government jettisons the former’s policies and initiates its own.

What is the guarantee that what you are trying to do now would survive the test of time?

I can’t speak for the future. But more importantly, I said something about fundamentals. Just like when the governor spoke with me, he asked what my vision was for Lagos sports. I told him, “my vision is to build the foundation for a sustainable sports industry in Lagos.”

The question I will ask is, if there were numerous policies in the past, how were they implemented?

How far were they driven to become policies? You know I can write a policy on a paper but were they put into law in a way that people had to obey for them to become policies? Not a single one of them was passed by any legislative arm of government. After writing a policy, which is academic, the next stage is to back it up with law. You give it a legal muscle to stand the test of time. When you do those fundamentals, no matter who comes afterwards, he must do what the law says. That is what we intend to do. Whenever the Lagos Sports Policy is ready, we will legalise

 

Buhari a man of God – Okorocha

Related Posts

Leave a comment

You must login to add a new comment.