Edo govt seeks private sector participation in sports devt, targets 50,000 new jobs
The Edo State Government has urged private sector players and other stakeholders to support its youth development drive by sponsoring sporting activities in the state, ensuring a veritable platform where youths can be positively engaged and their potential fully harnessed.
The Edo State Acting Governor, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu, gave the charge when he received the top management team of Guinness Nigeria Plc, led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Baker Magunda, who were on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
Reassuring the government’s sustained investment in sports development, Shaibu disclosed that the government had finalized plans to revive at least 15 sports in the state, with most competitions starting from January 2023.
He said, “We would like to have you sponsor most of our programmes, especially in the area of sports. Today, the easiest way to deal with youth restiveness and unemployment is to engage the youths in sporting activities.
"We took statistics of sports in terms of the number of youths it can get out of the labour market; we checked at various segments like football, table tennis, lawn tennis, and looked at 15 out of 37 sports. We discovered that if we have Edo State leagues from these 15 sports, we would be taking out 6,500 young men and women that will be competing directly in sports.
“Looking at the workforce that would service these games (coaching staff), we have another 2,500. Also, with the technical team and others, the numbers will rise. To have the state league alone, we discovered that we can have a minimum of 20,000 personnel. If we have 20,000 jobs through sports, what about the multiplier effect? It will grow the economy and we would have created direct and indirect jobs of up to 50,000 people.”
Shaibu added, “We are working to bring back the Ogbe Hard Court championships, which is one of the tennis events that gave us recognition internationally. We have transformed our long tennis court with a center court; we now have a standard court.”
He further charged the firm, “You can rebrand the entire court with your products. We are commencing a flagship programme in the 15 sports in January 2023. Ogbe Hard Court is not a local but an international event. This will enable us to give our youths newlease of life and engage them so that they will not be available for anti-social activities.”
On his part, Magunda thanked the state government for creating a conducive atmosphere for the company and other businesses to thrive and expand their investment in the state.