Tony John, Port Harcourt
President, International Sports Press Association (AIPS), Gianni Merlo, has commended Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his commitment to sports development.
Speaking during a brief meeting with Governor Wike on the sidelines AIPS Congress (Belgium 2018) cocktail in Brussels on Monday night, Merlo said that sports invrstments made by the were worthy of recognition.
The AIPs president particularly commended him for the decision to set up a Real Madrid Football Academy in the State, pointing out that it would develop international stars from Nigeria.
Also speaking during the meeting, the AIPS Africa, President, Mitchell Obi, said the association was proud to honour the Rivers governor for his outstanding developmental strides in the area of sports.
President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Honour Sirawoo, said that Governor Wike by his contributions to sports development, has placed Nigeria on the international sporting map.
Also, Rivers PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, said that under the leadership of Governor Wike, sports development has been given a new meaning to the advantage of the youths.
He praised Governor Wike for the harvest of awards and described the development as a testimony of the governor’s untiring quest for sports development in the state and Nigeria.
Obuah said the African award on the governor has marked him out as a brand ambassador of sports development, noting that the feat came on the heels of a flurry of sporting achievements, including the successful hosting of the African Wrestling Championship, which has been adjudged the best in the continent in recent times.
“For me, this award is very significant for two reasons. One, the President of AIPS, Mr. Mitchell Obi, is an icon in sports journalism and one of Africa’s best, and I deem it a privilege that the good works being done by Mr. Projects have continued to draw the attention of the international community.
“Two, the 94 year-old body (AIPS) commands an enviable pedigree with membership drawn across no fewer than 108 countries. For me, it is a great honour and a no-mean achievement for His Excellency and I am proud of him,” Obuah expressed.
Bro. Obuah who is also the President and sole sponsor of Go-Round Football Club of Omoku, expressed confidence that the award would spur Governor Wike for greater enthusiasm, as he continues to unfold his master plan to make Rivers the sports hub of the nation.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, said that Wike has continued to live up to the expectations of Rivers people by his outstanding achievements .
Senator George Sekibo said the benefits of Governor Wike’s quality investments in sports will be manifest in the coming years. He said the governor merits the recognition by AIPS.
The State Commissioner of Sports, Boma Iyaye, and Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Evans Bipi, said following the outstanding performance of Governor Wike in sports development, Rivers has become an international reference point.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Politics and Strategy, Chief Glory Emeh, noted that sports development has been effectively used as a tool of empowerment by Governor Wike.
Speaking during the meeting on the sidelines of the cocktail, Governor Wike assured that his administration would continue to invest in sports to empower the youths.
He said that the Real Madrid Football Academy will be actualized by his administration to create avenues for Rivers youths to further excel.
The governor, who was accompanied to Brussels by his wife, Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, to receive the AIPS Africa “Power of Sports ” award, noted that he remains committed to the holistic transformation of the State.
Governor Wike would be honoured with the Power of Sports award by AIPs Africa today (Wednesday).
He is also expected to deliver a lecture on the topic: ‘Peace and Progress through Sports in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria’ to the full house of the 94-year-old AIPS comprising no fewer than 108 countries.