Delta State Government on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government to host the National Youth Games (NYGs) for the next four years.
At the ceremony at Government House, Asaba, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, signed for the Federal Government while Governor Ifeanyi Okowa signed for the state government.
In his remarks, Okowa thanked the minister for his contributions to sports development in the country and for building the youths through sports.
He said that Delta Government had a warm relationship with the Federal Ministry of Sports, and commended Dare for the turnaround sports development had recorded under him.
According to Okowa, as a state, we want to categorically state that we are glad with what you have done and we are proud of you.
“You did not sit back in Abuja as the Sports Minister but you went out relating with the states because the nation is made up of the states and without the states, there is no nation.
“I truly want to believe that whatever achievements we have had, it is because of that stretch out of love to the component parts of the state; to encourage them to develop sports with you.
“We must learn to build together as a nation and that is the best way to develop this country of ours. I also want to thank you for the partnership you have with Delta. You realised from the beginning that we played pivotal role,” he said
The governor assured that the state government would continue to partner Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to discover and grow more talents across the country.
He recalled that in 2018, the state government opened the Asaba Township Stadium with a national assignment where several countries participated.
“We have had several relationships with the national level in both football and athletics. Only recently, we hosted the National Sports Festival.
“We are yet again happy to host the National Youth Games in the next four years. It is a game that has actually become our own. We only hope that other states compete favourably,” he added.
Okowa noted that Delta State was known for encouraging sports development and urged other states to do same, saying “I truly want all states to realise that you must catch them young, and if you are going to catch them young, you must start early.
“Sports is a good way to develop the minds of our youths and it helps us to relate with each other across the nation and as we do so, we are helping to build bonds of unity across Nigeria.
“Here in this state, we do not take it lightly; very soon we will have another youth games. We do it yearly; the football competition and several others. We believe that ‘catching-them-young’ is the best.”
Earlier, the minister had said that Delta State had become the hub for sports development, and commended Governor Okowa for his contributions to the development of new talents across the state and country.
“Delta State undoubtedly has become the home of sports in Nigeria and it has contributed immensely to sports development in Nigeria.
“I am happy to say that in the last four years, Delta State Government has contributed to sports development and in the last NSF, they proved that they are serious in doing that by organizing very robust games.
“Delta graciously agreed to host the National Youth Games for the next four years. Delta is a talent hub for our sports and it is a beacon for development of sports.
“You know that unless you nurture them, the talents won’t blossom. This is why we are very proud of Delta.
“I am happy that in the next four years, our young talents will find succour in Delta State with the signing of this MoU and I have the belief that our sports will be great through this,” he said.