By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
The organizer of the 2021 Ijesha Grand Marathon, Mr. Tijani Remilekun Usman has described as worrisome, the state of sports facilities in Osun State.
Usman, who noted that sports can tackle youth restiveness, appealed to the State Government to put in place sports facilities in order for the youths to get engaged.
He stressed that it will continue to be difficult for Osun indigenes to achieve their full potentials if the state does not build proper infrastructure for sports to thrive.
Speaking at the April edition of ‘Stakeholders Forum’, a monthly Guest Appearance programme of the Osun Chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN), Usman, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Beltij Nigeria Limited said: “It is the responsibility of the government to provide infrastructure and platform for sports while private individual will support.
“Osun is blessed with abundant talents in every category of sports but it’s difficult for these young ones to reach their full potentials due to poor infrastructural development which hinders their performance. For sports to grow, infrastructure is the key and that’s why the government should look into this area to help our athletes.
“Those of us who are blessed are ready to assist the government in sponsoring events if enabling platforms are provided. I therefore appeal to the government to ensure that we have standard sports facilities where our youth can be trained to become national stars”.
Speaking on the rationale behind Ijesa Grand Marathon, Usman explained that the Marathon was organised to curb youth restiveness, crimes and gangsterism in Ijesaland and its environs adding that the event is already yielding desired results.
He argued that Ijesaland, especially Ilesa, now enjoys peace since the marathon ended.
He said the engagement of youths in sporting activities would address the growing insecurities being witnessed in the state and the country at large.
Usman disclosed that he was already making plans to meet with Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola to discuss how his administration could provide infrastructure and develop talents in the state.
The sports supporter expressed commitment at sustaining the marathon adding that he was already collaborating with security agencies across Ijesaland with a view to restoring security and total safety in the state.
He stated that with more investments in sports and engagements of youth, the growing calls for the secession of Nigeria will be suppressed.
He said over 700 athletes participated in the Ijesa Grand Marathon across the country and that N2.7million was spent as cash prizes for the winners.
Usman called on stakeholders to join him in ensuring that the state government gives due attention to sports in Osun and expressed optimism that the state would host the Sports Festival once necessary infrastructure has been put in place.
Earlier, Chairman Osun Chapter of SWAN, Timothy Agbor had lauded ‘General’ as he is fondly called for deeming it fit to stage such a huge event in Osun and called on other wealthy indigenes to emulate this good gesture.