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National Youths Game: Non- Participation Of Rivers Youths; Inexcusable. - INCRA

National Youths Game: Non- Participation Of Rivers Youths; Inexcusable. - INCRA

▫INCRA chides Rivers State Government.

A leading media group in Rivers State, the Inter-ethnic Network for Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, INCRA, expresses dismay over the non-participation of Rivers State in the on-going National Youth Games (NYG 2017) in Illorin, Kwara State.

The 2017 NYG is the third edition of the sporting event which was first hosted in 2013 in Abuja, followed by the 2nd edition in 2016 hosted by the University of Illorin, Kwara State. The NYG has since its inception remained the biggest sporting event for Nigerian youths between the age brackets of 15-19 years. Not only is the tournament a veritable tool for advancing youth development in sports but it is also, an avenue for talent hunt which provides the youngsters an opportunity to carve a niche for themselves in sports.

We recall vividly that during the Amaechi administration, Rivers State actively participated in the first edition of the National Youth Games in 2013, however, under the Wike-led government, it has failed to participate in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the annual sporting event.

We are nonplussed that the Rivers State Government would consecutively deny Rivers youths an opportunity to showcase themselves in an event as this that is expected to provide opportunity for the selection of athletes that will represent the Country at the World Youth Games as well as an opportunity to pursue a career in sports. With the tournament covering twenty-five different sports, participants are afforded the opportunity to show their talents over a wide range of events.

It is disturbing that States like Kwara, Osun, Ogun, Kano and the rest of them with far smaller IGR and revenue allocations from the federal government than Rivers State, could afford to sponsor contingents to the games, the Rivers State government is unable to do same for her youths, yet its is on record that the same government has spent huge amounts of taxpayers's money on frivolities  and hosting of several other events running into billions of Naira, with no direct economic or developmental benefits to the State and her people.

May we be reminded that the Governor travelled to Madrid in Spain to watch the 2015/2016 UEFA Champions league finals with over thirty top government officials in his entourage at the expense of the State treasury. If the Governor was so passionate about sports why has he denied the youths of Rivers State a golden opportunity as this to grow their sporting skills? If the Governor claims paucity of funds as his reasons for not sponsoring a contingent of Rivers youths to the NYG, could he not have channelled the amount of money he spends on Remy Martins' Louis XIII in a month to this event? An event that will meaningfully engage people, make them productive and dissociate them from vices is worth any purposeful government's intervention.

We have stated it severally that the Wike-led government  has no place for youth development. This incident is a case in point as the government has no excuse for the non-participation of Rivers State in the NYG.
Obviously, to the Governor, the youths are only useful during elections as political thugs. The State government is lacking in ideas and programs that builds capacity in the youths and fails to take advantage of such opportunities when they come. The Governor must come to the realisation that a State that fails to invest in the youths has no future and soon becomes a failed State. The Rivers State government should take a clue from other State governments like Lagos, Cross River, Osun, etc, that have blazed the trail in youth empowerment and development.

As concerned citizens, we urge the Governor to make programs that impact positively on the people, especially the youths, a top  priority. He should de-emphasize hollow politickings and emphasize more on human capacity development and enduring infrastructures. We further advise the Governor to make the most of the few months left of his tenure before he is eventually kicked out of the Brick House on the eve of May 28,  2019.

Ubima, Rivers State.

September 12, 2017.