President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that sports remained the only tool that can unite and promote peace and coexistence among Nigerians, and by extension Africans.
He made the remark at the opening ceremony of the African Wrestling Championships on today at the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Center in Port Harcourt.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung said: “Africa remains the bride of the next civilization.
Therefore, we must exploit the potentials of sports to create jobs, to entertain our people, to promote peaceful coexistence, to improve on tourism and promote the health well being of our nation. Investing in sports is the next step Africa must look into.”
President Buhari charged the athletes to be good ambassadors of Africa and compete fairly.
“This is an opportunity to showcase the very rich talents you possess. This championship will afford you the opportunity to excel because athletes who will be competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be produced here, therefore, I urge you to compete fairly and honestly and ensure that the benefits accruing from this competition remain the ultimate goal for all.”
President Buhari, who had earlier commissioned the Alfred Diete Spiff Civic Center, also commended the Government and the people of Rivers State for hosting the championship and renovating the venue of the championship to international standard.
He also used the opportunity to appeal to African youths to believe in Africa and the greatness therein.
“Let me encourage African youths to continue to have hope in Africa. African youths must believe in Africa. There is no better place than Africa therefore, the trans Mediterranean migration by African youths should be discouraged.
There are great potentials on this continent so let us collectively work hard to build a strong continent that will be the hub of the black world.”
Over 26 countries are in Port Harcourt as of today, for the 5-day championship.