It was indeed a funfair on Saturday at the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin as 7th Kwara Sports Festival ended amid colourful displays of great talents and displayed of cultural heritage from across the state.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq said the festival formed a part of his plan to spotlight sports in the state as it used to be in the early decades of Kwara. He recalled that he once represented the state as a footballer.
“Not only has the Festival put Kwara back in the spotlight in the sports industry nationwide, it has again solidified our unity as a people and reassured the Kwara people that we are here to rewrite the story of the state for good,” he said.
“This festival has offered our youths the opportunity to channel their energy to productive activities that have earned them more respect in their communities and beyond. They have seen, once again, that they can be celebrated and rewarded if they get it right.
“Finally, as I declare this event closed, I urge our young people to imagine a world of boundless opportunities ahead of them. But the path to success is often laced with hard work, humility, sacrifice, and determination. With the national sports festival (Edo 2020) just a few weeks away, I believe this festival is a tonic for us to go and overwhelm the rest of Nigeria. Let us go out and tell the world that it is indeed a new beginning for Kwara.”
The weeklong fiesta, which was last held 15 years ago and featured athletes from across Kwara’s 16 local government areas, peaked on Saturday with 4X100 metres relay involving about eight finalists and the football finals between Ilorin East and Ilorin South.
Ilorin West Local Government topped the medals’ table in the festival that featured 26 games, tailed by Asa Local Government and Offa respectively.
Joanna Nnazua Kolo, sports and youths development commissioner in the state, said the festival was long dead and buried until the Governor approved its revival to properly engage the youth and energise sports in the grassroots.
Also, the Honorable Minister For Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare has hailed Kwara State government for reviving the Sports Festival which last held 17 years ago.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony which held this afternoon at the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin, the minister acknowledged the State Government courage to enliven the the Bi-annual Sports event.
“Let me first of all thank and celebrate the government of Kwara State commitment to bring back Kwara Sports Festival after 17 years in the dungeon”.
He said Governor has not only brought about pace in Sports development but has become the face of it he commended the state government for supporting youth through sports development, while promising that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Sports will partner the State Government to achieve more in it’s giant stride to help youth.
“We recognized the state for supporting the youth in sports development because that is our focus, agenda and vision”
The minister further said, ”the Federal Government through the instrumentality of ministry of Sports will partner with Kwara State in virtually in all Sports as the case may be”.
Dare acknowledged the State is abound with Talents who are proudly representing Nigeria.
“We are proud that Kwara States Parades a lot of talents who represent Nigeria proudly”.
“I think Kwara State will go forward from here and shining forth as one of the leading State in Sports Development” the Minister ended his word.
Dignatories at the event includes, Governor AbdulRazaq, Sports Minister Sunday Dare, Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker Danladi Yakubu, the Olofa of Offa Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi and top traditional rulers, and several other dignitaries, the football duel ended in favour of Ilorin East which walloped their challengers two nil, drawing the curtain on the scintillating event.
AbdulRazaq’s Ilorin West Local Government topped the medals’ table in the festival that featured 26 games, followed by Asa Local Government and Offa respectively.