Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki was on Tuesday in Abuja appointed by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) as national patron of the association in recognition of his contributions to sports development when he was Governor of Kwara state.
SWAN national President, Honour Sirawoo announced the appointment when he led the SWAN national executive committee on a courtesy call on the Senate President at the National Assembly complex Abuja.
“What you did for sports development in Kwara state where you set up football academy and brought former Super Eagles technical adviser, Clemence Westerhof as coordinator, what you did to put the Kwara stadium to the beautiful edifice it is now, as well as your continuous supports to ABS FC shows your passion for sports and youth development and your commitment to sports development in the country. The NEC has approved your award as national patron of SWAN. We would pick a date for your investiture,” Sirawoo said.
The SWAN President, who commended the Senate for commencing amendment of the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) and the National Sports Commission (NSC) bills, however tasked the Senate President and the National Assembly to make laws that would move sports forward in the country, while calling for a bill that would create national sports university in the country.
“SWAN was established in 1964 to coordinate and manage activities of sports writers and promote sports growth in the country. Sports play unique role in the development of any society through unity and wealth creation. We are blessed in Nigeria with huge potential and population but we have not build on the potential to take sports where it should be.
“Nigeria faces several challenges in sports development, the NFA bill when amended would help government to provide enabling environment and allow private sector to run it. The NSC bill would enable the commission to be managed by professionals and technocrats. Nigeria needs sports university to help promote sports. Maybe our challenge is poor administration.”
The Senate President in his response thanked SWAN for finding him worthy of the award while pledging to work with SWAN in improving sports development in Nigeria. He said sports roles in unity, cohesion and social development cannot be over emphasized, adding that the Senate is already working on the NFA and NSC amendment bills, while a bill is in the offing for the creation of sports university.
“Many countries are known because of sports, our greatest challenge has been sports administrators but the talents are there. This is why we have to use this opportunity to grow our sports. Sports writers should attend our public hearings to contribute to them. SWAN are very critical with strong opinions, to get an honour from such organization I really appreciate it.”