…Assures FG’s Commitment To Using Sports To Promote National Unity And Peace
“This is the first time after 38 years a military team represented Nigeria at an international competition – Awwal Zubairu Gambo
Muhammadu Buhari, the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, has reassured Nigerians that the Federal Government will continue to support athletic events in the Nation due to its significance for fostering National cohesion and unity.
As a result, he stated that the Armed Forces would not give up and will maintain their operational pace in order to address the insecurity issues facing the Nation.
He gave a speech as the Special Guest of Honour at today’s Nigerian Navy Games 2022 opening ceremony and inauguration of the Nigerian Navy Ultra-Modern Sports Complex in Lagos’ Navy Town, Ojo.
President Buhari reiterated that plans are on to ensure that the security agencies put appropriate measures in place to secure the country despite the security challenges.
According to him, there is no doubt that over the years, sports have remained a tool for “strengthening the ties between troops, instilling discipline and readiness to serve a common cause in the military.”
In that regard, he urged the Naval high command to explore the opportunity of these games to harvest talents that would represent the Navy and Nigeria in international sports competitions, noting “the significance of the synergy between the armed forces, other security agencies and the general population in bringing about long-lasting peace and stability in the country.”
While admonishing participating athletes to inculcate the spirit of fair play and exhibit a high level of decorum during the games, President Buhari reemphasized the need to use the games as a pivot for fostering “unity, oneness, dedication, commitment, and comradeship which Nigerians expect from the Nigerian Navy.”
He commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State for lending his support to Nigerian Navy during the 12th NN Games Lagos 2022, adding that “the importance it attaches to cooperation with the military in Lagos State” can not be underrated.
Earlier, while welcoming the President, invited guests and participants to the sports complex, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, observed that the volatile and complexity of contemporary warfare places a huge demand on personnel combat readiness hence they need to be physically fit and mentally alert.
According to him, “hosting the 12th Nigerian Navy Games 2022 at a time like this amidst resource constraints displays the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to enhance the fitness of naval personnel and capacity to tackle prevailing security challenges.
This, he stressed, has had a cumulative positive impact on the force with outstanding performances in both local and international games such as the African Women Volleyball Club Championship, Tunisia in May 2022, where they displayed exemplary skills worthy of emulation.
Commending personnel sports’ dexterity, he explained that “This is the first time after 38 years a military team represented Nigeria at an international competition.
“The Nigerian Navy Polo Team also made its maiden appearance at the Port Harcourt International Polo tournament in January this early and galloped its way to victory by winning the TY Danjuma Cup out of 26 teams that participated”
On the recent acquisition of new platforms, Gambo explained the remarkable success story of the induction of Landing Ship Tank, Nigerian Navy Ship KADA into the Fleet which has tremendously enhanced NN’s naval power projection, within the region and beyond.
“Significantly, the ship embarked on its first official trip last month, with military hardware and logistics for the Nigerian Contingent deployed for ECOWAS Stabilisation Support Mission at Guinea Bissau.”
In his goodwill message, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu charged the athletes to allow the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play to take the pride of place during the games adding that the role of sports in societal development cannot be overemphasized.
He added that Lagos as a coastal state would continue to maintain a cordial relationship with the Nigerian Navy, especially as the force that is very important to the security of the state.
The ultra-modern sports complex is built to meet international standards with a seating capacity of 792 spectators while the Indoors sports is made up of a well-equipped gymnasium. It has vast parking spaces, a powerhouse as well as a water treatment plant.
The high point of the opening ceremony were the Oath Taking for fair play, and good behaviour of all the participants during the games which was officiated by Commodore Olusanya Bankole, Chairman, Organising Committee of 2022 NN games.
There was also a brilliant Combat team display made up of 60 Ratings who carried out sundry displays from Arrowhead formation to anchor which reflected the symbol of the Nigerian Navy.
There was also the hoisting of the participating Commands’ flags which included Naval Headquarters, Western Naval Command, Naval Training Command, Logistics Command, Eastern Naval Command and Central Naval Command.
The Nigerian Navy Games Lagos 2022 will be rounded off on the 13th of September 2022 and has about 1,452 athletes participating from all the formations. The first Nigerian Navy games took place in Lagos in 1974.
Present at the ceremony were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, the Service Chiefs, immediate past CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas, who is the current Nigeria Ambassador to Ghana; Ministers of Defence and Sports; former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe sports enthusiasts and friends of the Nigerian Navy.
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