The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Akoka, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has reiterated the university’s commitment to make the Nigerian Universities Games Association, NUGA to be hosted by the university from March 16 to 26, 2022 a success.
According to him, the UNILAG Brand remains the premier brand in the frontiers of learning and other areas and because of this,the university’s resolve to host successful games in the history of NUGA, the edition is tagged: ‘CITY NUGA’.
He stated this at the flag off ceremony held at the weekend which re-launched the Mascot for the games KADDI, the theme song as well as the lighting of the torch of unity.
The VC said the torch will commence a tour to the length and breadth of the country, various organizations and sporting philanthropists and stakeholders.
This he said is geared towards drumming support for the games and creating the necessary awareness to herald the commencement of UNILAG-NUGA 2022.
He added that the university intends to take some elements of the games outside the university to create awareness within the community.
This he said will afford participants, officials, fans, and visitors to watch the various sporting events, enjoy the UNILAG spectacular ambiance as well as experience Lagos like never before.
“Our zeal to host a world class sporting events that showcases the talents of Nigerian youths motivate us to call on our alumni and friends of the university found in all area of human endeavours to join hands with us to make this happen.
“We are in good partnerships in the renovation and upgrade of existing sports facilities into internationally acceptable standards.”
Prof Ogundipe added that with the support of the alumni, corporate world and friends of the university, no doubt in terms of organizational capacity, world class facilities and unparallel ambiance, the UNILAG-NUGA 2022 games will be a reference point for all NUGA Games to come.
“It is also our expectation, that with the best of facilities that we are putting in place, talents will be unearthed to represent Nigeria in future international competitions.
“But much more than that, the NUGA Games offer us an opportunity to bridge the daily burgeoning gaps between the peoples of Nigeria especially our youths and which gaps threaten our national unity.”
He added that that the games will foster goodwill and friendship through the common passion of sports. “Indeed, this is another chance to promote sporting values in the spirit of the Olympics.
“The games will also help develop the skills and performance of university athletes because there is no better time than now for all of your us to raise our hearts, heads, voices and hands in response to the aspirations of Nigerian youths for a better future,” he stated.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare in his speech at the event said the lighting of the torch in sports is very significant. “The torch is indicative of the positive spirit of gamesmanship and it’s ability to promote friendliness, fairness and peace.
He explained further that the lighting is also symbolic. “It is the igniting of the passion, will to win against all odds and the competitive spirit that is determined to overcome all obstacles in order to claim the ultimate prize freely and fairly.
“So today, I feel so highly privileged to be part of the process that promotes the positive attitudes of gamesmanship, friendliness and fairness driven by the passion and will to win, and the determined to overcome all hurdles to success among Nigerian Universities in sports.”
He congratulates the Nigerian Universities Games Association saying it has come a long way.
The Sports Minister commended them for still staying relevant in the ecosystem of Nigerian sports since 1965 when it was founded and 1966 when the first NUGA games was held at the University of Ibadan.
“From the attendance by only five founding members of the Association in 1966, NUGA now boast of close to 90 members.
“The host of next year edition UNILAG should get ready to receive a lot of visitors especially student-athletes from close to 90 universities because unlike in 1966, the membership of NUGA now includes, not only federal universities but state and private ones.”
Dare also stated that the multisport, cosmopolitan games conceived to be a biennial event at inception provides a unique opportunity for the Federal Ministry of Sports Development to deliver on some of it’s mandate for the Nigerian youths and the student athlete.
He revealed that last year, the Federal Government reclassified sports as business, no longer mere recreation as was the case in the past which has already generated some positive results for youth and sports development through the National Development Plan (NDP) asire funds will now be made available.
“In view of the new direction that sports is moving and the fact that both comments (youth and sports) are represented in NUGA, let me challenge the Association to also reposition itself, plug into the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) and take a front row seat in this campaign in the interest of the Nigerian youths and sports development.”
This is necessary according to him because the strength and future of any government or people is her youth. “They are a resource to be harnessed and not a problem.
“They are solution providers with 21st century skills and ideas, as well as the energy that they possess because our universities still produce some of the best young graduates who have taken over and excelled in ICT, Sports, Business, Engineering, Medicine and the creative industry (music, entertainment and fashion. The youth are the new CEOs and they have arrived,” he said.
“It is time for the Nigerian youth to wake up, take their place as the nerve centre of the nation and seize the opportunities that government is giving them through the numerous youth programmes.”
The Minister however called for researches that can develop sports in the country. “I am challenging NUGA as part of itz responsibilities to sports development in Nigeria to begin to commission researches.
“Let the different faculties of Physical and Health Education, Human Kinetics and Physiology work with the faculties of Physical Sciences and Medical Sciences to provide scientific and intellectual insights into the development of modern, practical, efficient and sustainable training, athlete development programmes that will take every stage of life of the athlete (from cradle to the podiim) into consideration,” he advised.
136 universities are expected to participate in the 26th edition of the games with about ten thousand students’ athletes and officials.