Chief Donatus Agu Ejidike is the Nigeria Pillar of Sports. In this interview with MIKE ADEYEMI, he speaks on his Stewardship in sports developments in Kwara State as well as the need for inclusiveness of stakeholders towards bringing about needed growth in the sports industry.
What informed the title Pillar of Sports bestowed on you?
The Kwara State Sports Writers Association, (SWAN) found me worthy after the demise of hitherto Adolf Okafor and they unanimously decided at their congress to bestowed on me the Kwara state Pillar of Sports. I was appointed in 2008, and officially unveiled in 2010.
My flair for sports and antecedent in promotion and development of Sports in Nigeria spurred Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), national headquarters also install me as Nigeria Pillar of Sports.
Since then I have continued to touch so many lives and contribute my quota to the growth and development of humanity in different capacities.
I’m also the Pillar of Sports Catholic Youths Organisation of Nigeria Central Zone, Ilorin, Kwara State. Patron and Pillar of Sports, Igbo Traders Football Association, Ilorin, Kwara state.
Patron, Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria, Kwara State Branch. Patron Kwara United Fans Club, honourary members of Nigeria Olympic Committee on sports for all 2011-2014, hounorary membership award, Ilorin Lions Club, central and I have many other honours and awards to my credits.
What has been your contributions to sports developments in Kwara and indeed Nigeria?
Just like I had earlier stated in the course of this chat. My participation and involvement in sporting activities cut across board.
I had solely sponsored U-19 Kwara State Badminton, 2019. I sponsored Kwara State Gymnastics competition 2009, 2010 and 2011.
I have also sponsored Kwara State YSFON U-16 Soccer competition 2010, Kwara State Boxing competition, 2010.
I sponsored University of Ilorin Medical Students Game 2010. I donated to Team Kwara at National Sports Festival, Kaduna 2009.
I equally donated table tennis board and kits to Aminat Memorial School, Ilorin in 2010.
I have sponsored journalists to National and International competitions, U-17 world youths championship.
In 2009, I donates track suits to Bukola Babes Ilorin, T-shirt to SWAN media game, track suit to ITFA Ilorin
Also in 2016, I donated jersey, tracks suits and T-shirt to Anambra State SWAN Media Games. Table tennis board to Authority Newspaper, Abuja, co-sponsor of Karate Federation Open National Championship in Asaba.
Sole sponsorship of KFN national trial of Karatekas in Asaba, Delta State in 2014. Donation of 20sets of track suit, 400PCS large exercise book and cup to NNPC/SHELL cup 2015.
The third edition of Kwara State Pillar of Sports 2012 under 16 soccer competition in Osi, Ekiti Local Government of Kwara State was also sponsored by me.
How would you evaluate sport developments in Nigeria?
Sports is a big business and in fairness government cannot do it alone. The government is trying its best.
I think the progress and developments of sports in the country lies on corporate organisation, individuals and indeed the government. That is how it is done in other climes.
But, I think sports industry in Nigeria is moving. Rome was not built in a day. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
How do you think we can move sports forward in the state?
There is more to be done in terms of infrastructure and sponsorship. Under that arrangement, the government should provide enabling environment for cooperate organisations to thrive.
Our sports should be institutionalise like it is in advanced countries.
Talking about sport developments, we still have a long way to go.
But as a pillar of sports, I will continue to make advocacy to let people in the authority know this.