With the global boom in sports cash-flow and investment, a few governments in Africa have begun thinking in the right direction of partnering with private sector investors in a bid to stimulate and sustain growth in sports sectors.
In Nigeria, the Kwara State Ministry of Sports and Youth Development is one of such who are leaning towards this model as they have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Willbond Consulting Limited to organize the first ever Kwara Sports Summit which is set to hold in the state capital, Ilorin, in September.
The State’s Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Prince Saheed Popoola who has spearheaded the conception and organization of the initiative hinted, at the signing ceremony in Ilorin, that the primary goal of the summit is geared towards positioning the South Western state of Kwara as an attractive proposition for private investment in its sports sector.
Given the widespread belief that Nigeria is a nation brimming with raw sporting potential in need of proper training and nurturing, it appears Kwara is keen on becoming a hub of sorts for athlete development and sporting excellence. The man who has been tasked with making the sports summit a reality Mr. Gboyega Ogunosun, the Executive Director of Willbond Consulting has said that the firm is intent on creating and delivering an event that will serve as a template for other states in Nigeria and across Africa to follow.
The summit will reportedly focus on establishing credible sources of funding for athlete development in the state as well as well equipped facilities to hone their skills. It must be said that this sports summit will not be Kwara’s first ever venture into the grassroots development as the state government, headed by then governor Bukola Saraki, established its famous Kwara Football Academy, which was commissioned by the President of the Confederation of African Football Issa Hayatou, in 2005 to wide acclaim.