Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has reiterated the call for multinationals and international oil companies and the organized private sector to invest in sports development.
He made the call at the closing ceremony of the 3rd Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship held at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor emphasized that by investing in sporting endeavours, IOCs and the corporate world would have contributed to the growth and development of society.
In a statement signed Mr Doubara Atasi, Senior Special Assistant on Media Deputy Governor’s Office Bayelsa State, quoted governor Diri stressed that Sports was a veritable tool to positively channel the energies of the youths, thereby drastically reducing the rate of crime, social vices and other forms of violence.
His words: ‘I am disturbed by what the multinationals and International oil companies do in our State. By not investing in sports, they are either deliberately or inadvertently encouraging our youths to take to crime and criminality.
“I say this because whatever they spend to maintain the military and other security agencies to protect their infrastructure, is still much more expensive than what they will put into sports and our youths will stop disturbing them.
“It’s a clear case of penny wise, pound foolish. It will take them very little to put into sports and they will have their peace and freedom to operate’.
The Governor, who said Sports was an integral part of the Prosperity Administration, noted that the state government has made sports a major tool in positively engaging the youths and has put in place a robust reward system to motivate sportsmen and women to actualize their potential.
He explained that with the exploits of the likes of Olympic silver medalist, Blessing Oborududu and other wrestlers as well as Bayelsa Queens who successfully retained their Nigeria Women’s Federation Cup title and finished second in the Premier League, it was clear that the State was on the path to greatness in Sports.
The Governor advised the Nigeria Scrabble Federation to put in place to sustain the National Championship.
In a remark, the State Commissioner for Youth and Sport Development, Daniel Igali represented by the Director of Sports at the State Sports Council, Sir Braveman Wodi said the continued hosting of the Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship was indicative of the interest and love the Governor and his Deputy have for Sports.
He stressed that players discovered from the competition would form the nucleus of Team Bayelsa to the National Youth Games coming up in September this year, describing Bayelsa as the hub of Sports in the country.
President of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, Engineer Olobatoke Aka, thanked the Governor and the Deputy, Senator Ewhrudjakpo, for sponsoring the national championship for the third consecutive year.
Engineer Aka said the Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship served as a training ground and preparation for Nigeria’s contingent to the World Scrabble Championship scheduled for Las Vegas, United States from July 22-26, 2023.
In an address, the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Scrabble Association, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the competition has in the last three years, attracted top players and personalities across the country to the State, stating that the success recorded so far underscored the attention the Governor Douye Diri led Administration has accorded to Sports.
Alabrah, who is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor said the National Championship has produced a new generation of scrabble players that would time take the game by storm in he next few years.
While appreciating the Governor for sponsoring the tournament, he urged the corporate world to take a cue to fund and support the growth of scrabble in the country.
Highpoint of the closing formalities was the presentation of trophies and cash prizes to the winners and other players who stood out in the competition.
Ebonyi State-born Enoch Nwali emerged the winner of the star prize of the 3rd edition of the Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship.
The 26 year old undergraduate of Health Education at the University of Lagos was overall best in the Masters’ Category with + 705 cumulative spread points after winning 12 out of 15 games, clinching the top prize of five hundred thousand Naira and a trophy.
Among other prizes and winners, the Special Prize for overall best female player went to Vera Zinny.