The Minister of Youth and Sports on Sunday said the hosting of the forthcoming African Wrestling Championship billed for Port Harcourt from 7th to 11th February, 2018 will help unite the people of the Rivers state and Nigeria.
Dalung, made the remark when the Local Organising Committee led by Boma Iyayi paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The Minister posited the use of Sports as the only tool that can be used to promote national integration, douse tension and mobilize Nigerians to see themselves as one.
“I have been in line with the preparation and I have also received the African President here in Nigeria when he came on an inspection of facilities. We have dutifully supported this cause on two strong grounds. One is that Honourable Daniel Igali is a very unique Nigerian who did wrestling, won medals and came back to impart his knowledge on to Nigerians.
“Secondly, I believe that the championship taking place next year in Port Harcourt will help in correcting the erroneous impression that has been created about the people of Rivers state.
“Today, the situation in Rivers state has been negated by disagreements among leaders and we need to abate that situation by securing the young people, giving them a sense of belonging and associating them with the Nigerian family, so that they can rightly belong.
“I believe this championship will go a long way to reunite the people of Rivers state and Nigeria in general.”
Barrister Dalung thanked the Governor of Rivers state Barrister Nyesome Wike for accepting to host the championship, while praising the local organizing committee for their hard work. He challenged them to make the event a successful one.
Earlier, the Chairman of the organizing committee Hon Boma Iyayi thanked the Minister for his support in assisting to acquire the hosting rights for the championship.
“Sports is one of the major tools binding us. This is an opportunity for us to unite everybody in Nigeria. River state is just privileged to host the African Wrestling Championship but it is a Nigerian event. We seek your indulgence to please give us the necessary support.
“We will show the hospitality of Rivers State to Africa and showcase Nigeria to the world,” Iyayi said.
The National Wrestling Championship comes up from November 23-30, 2017 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Alfred Diette-Spiff Civic Center in Port Harcourt.
It will be used as a yardstick to showcase preparations ahead of the African championship and choose wrestlers who will represent the country at the African Championship.