We have assembled here today to stencil our names on the bright side of history. We have come with the right passion to bend the curve of the arc of history for the good and prosperity of our people. We are here today to blow the golden whistle to showcase the deep talents that our youths possess. I am happy to be part of this very significant event and I am filled with great faith that it will engender a new dawn in our sports and talents discovery process. This is not just a competition, this is a message to a generation that our Dakkada philosophy is alive and thriving and it will be displayed in different colors in the course of this event.
On behalf of the Government and good people of our beloved State, I welcome you all to this maiden edition of Akwa Ibom State Youth Sports Festival. I congratulate the Ministry of Youth and Sports on this great initiative, and urge participants to endeavour to make maximum use of this opportunity, and make it a visa to the Land of stardom. Know very well this is beyond the mere assemblage of budding talents. If you are gifted, give your gift your all in this festival.
Therefore, let this nest be the hatchery for future champions by this competition. Come to think of it, if champions are not hatched in the Nest of Champions- The Godswill Obot Akpabio Stadium where else can they possibly be hatched?
This administration sees sports development as a valuable gift to our children and youths. We know that when we expose them to the best sporting facilities at an early age, we have given them wings to soar and the sky can only be the limit. Such thinking gave vent to the establishment of sporting centres in each of the ten Federal constituencies of the State by my administration.
Today, sport is beyond the rubrics of the rhetoric of entertainment. The business side of sports is indeed, a goldmine. So, beyond the story of this festival, our youths should be launched to the glory of the money-spinning venture of sports. We know that the secret of the Lionel Messis, the Christiano Ronaldos, the Serena Willaims, the Usain Bolts and other world stars, is hidden, first and foremost, in early exposure to world-class facilities particularly at an early age. So, this catch-them-young initiative is well situated.
Our dream for our youths defies all social divides. No matter your background, this competition should be regarded as a common ground for you to spring and bring fame to your family, and pride to your State. I keep saying so that by the time we finish our golden blueprint in sports for Akwa Ibom State, I wonder which team that will be constituted in any sports in Nigeria that the first five to be invited to camp will not be Akwa Ibom children. Yes, that is not impossible. It is a fruit we will not just pluck or pick by mere wishful thinking; we are planting the seeds on fertile grounds today, we will water the tree tomorrow, and with God, we will reap the fruits in the future.
But my dear children, your attitude will either hasten the ripening process of that cherished fruit or render the harvest incomplete. Sport thrives on high level of discipline. Any athlete who is only well-behaved during competitions, and misbehaves in private life may not go far in the business. Maintain a high level of discipline at all times, and always reflect the true Akwa Ibom spirit of hardwork, leadership, perseverance, dedication, excellence and winning. That way, you will flourish in your career especially at moments where sheer human will and desire overcome all odds. And always remember that we always make history; we do not run away from history.
However, as you begin today, remember that a good athlete does not begin to run with money in his pocket but with hope in his heart and dreams in his head. Aim at the trophy but prepare for the juicy journey that this festival may eventually set you on. A trophy may carry dust but dreams flow like streams forever.
Yes, there may be people who have more talents than you here today but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you in this competition.
While we take our seats as your passionate supporters, it is my hope and prayer that this event brings greater glory to us as a State, and very importantly to Nigeria as a nation. May this be a feeder to our national teams in the future and make us retake our rightful place in different sports. It is therefore my joy and honour to declare this maiden Akwa Ibom State Youth Sports Festival open to the glory of God and benefit of mankind.
Thank you and God bless.
STARS IN THE HATCHERY
AN ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, MR. UDOM EMMANUEL DURING THE AKWA IBOM STATE YOUTH SPORTS FESTIVAL, ON MARCH 22, 2017. GODSWILL AKPABIO STADIUM, UYO