The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Saturday night, said sports could help the country erase the political, religious, and ethnic differences inherent in the nation’s polity.
He stated this during the opening ceremony of the 26th edition of the Nigerian University Games Association, NUGA, Games at the Sports Complex of the University of Lagos UNILAG.
“It is good to be in the gathering of young men and women who are ready to showcase their talents in sports. Sports have the power to unite people and this game is going to be a harvesting ground for talents. This is what we need in Nigeria today, the unification of colours, ethnic groups, and religious differences and we need to harness our differences for the benefit of the country,” he said.
That is why we spared no efforts in preparing for this day. Working diligently and round the clock via our Local Organising Committee, LOC, we went all out to mobilise human, financial, and material resources to ensure that we host a remarkably memorable event. Our sporting facilities have been upgraded to world-class standards, such that our young athletes will have the platform to showcase their talents unhindered,” he said.
The VC expressed delight that the university is hosting the game for the fourth time since the game started 56 years ago.
UNILAG hosted it previously in 1968, 1978, and 1998.
The President of NUGA, Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto, said the competition was the biggest sporting event for university students in the country.
We have increased in this multi-sport competition additional five sports namely Karate, boxing, strong man, beach volleyball and female soccer to take the number of sport to 21,” he said.
From the competition, athletes that will represent Nigeria at the World University Games in China in June this year would be selected.
No fewer than 76 Universities are taking part in this year’s game.
The Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the institution’s belief in the NUGA mission of the game is a fertile ground for the emergence of well-rounded graduates who are equipped for solid service to mankind globally informed the decision to host it.