The Coordinator, 2021 Nigeria Delta U-17 Peace Cup, Honourable John Ekpenyong has charged the Niger Delta region to set up more sports academies in their various states to ensure more talents are spotted and for the region to become exporter of talents.
Ekpenyong in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Niger Delta Peace Cup affirmed that the region must take advantage of incentive opportunities that accrue from football to ensure that the Niger Delta becomes the hub of talents to the nation.
“Football has become the multi-billion dollar venture globally and the NIGER-DELTA region must take advantage of the opportunities available and key into this emerging trend, by setting up Sports Academies in their various states while the Private Sector players are also encouraged to invest in this profitable venture,” Ekpenyong stated in his address at the Ikot Ekpene Stadium.
“We can assure them, that in no distance time, the Region shall become the greatest exporter of football talents globally.
“We wish to commend NDDC which was established as an interventionist Agency for being alive to it’s responsibility of changing the growth and development trajectory of the Development-starved area as it continues to deliver people-centered projects in the NIGER-DELTA region.
“On our part, we at Grassroot Sports Federation (GRASOF), are ready to partner with the NDDC to ensure that this tournament is sustained as yearly event given its expected benefits to the youths of the region and we humbly recommend that it should be included in the Annual Budget of the Commission. We believe that this is sustainable, feasible and achievable.”
The Tournament Coordinator lauded the Niger Delta Development Commission for solely funding of the competition and hailed the contributions of the Sole Administrator, NDDC, Effiong Akwa and the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio for the technical assistance to ensure the tournament sees the light of day.
He also disclosed that besides using it as an opportunity to fish out talents that could stardom in the future, the tournament was put in place to foster unity and strengthen peaceful co-existence that exist among the Niger Delta States and the people in the region too.
“The NIGER-DELTA U-17 PEACE CUP 2021 which is solely sponsored by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),in collaboration with the Ministry of NIGER-DELTA affairs was conceived with the main objective of fostering and consolidating the peace and unity that has existed amongst the States and people of the the region.
“It is also to create a veritable platform for the discovery and nurturing of the budding Football talents that abound within states.”
Ekpenyong nonetheless admonished Niger Delta youths to continue to be peace loving and not resort to nefarious activities to settle issues.
He also urged participating teams to be law abiding and strive to play by the rules put in place to ensure healthy competition and fair play.
“To the youths of the NIGER-DELTA region, we enjoin you to endeavor to keep the peace at all times as a guarantee for sustainable development. We must not resort to violence and fight in order to get our dues, but rather, we must must continue to engage, interface and cooperate with one another.
“We urge you to continue to aim higher and dream big. You don’t need anybody’s permission to succeed in life; for whatever you can CONCEIVE AND BELIEVE, you can ACHIEVE. Therefore, rise up and exploit your talents to the maximum. Dream and pursue to conquer.
“To the winners, we say, don’t be contented as it’s just the beginning of your rise to the top, and to those not not very successful, we advice, go home and work harder, as dreams + passion + commitment = success,” he concluded.