Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday advised that corruption in sports should not be tolerated if the sector must be developed in Africa.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first session of the African Union Sports Council Region 2 Ministers Meeting in Abuja, Saraki urged the participants to ensure that the decisions and resolutions that would be reached at the meeting were used to develop sports in the West Africa region.
He noted that the primary aim of government was to create an environment for business to strive, adding that sport today was a global brand.
“Africa is heading towards a cross road with emerging sports personalities able to perform on an international sports stage but lack the domestic organisation to make the continent proud.
“There cannot be success at the highest level if we failed to put our house in order. Many African countries face socio-economic challenges that appeal to be more pressing than sports. But the onions fall on the administrators to be more creative and try to involve more private sector participation in the development of sports in the continent,” he said.
Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Committee on Sports Chairman, Obinna Ogba, said that professionals and coaches with certificates in sports should be given the opportunity at all levels of its administration.
Also speaking at the event, President Muhammadu Buhari, told the ministers that Nigeria would support them to achieve the mandate of the newly created AUSC Region 2.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of State for Power, Works, and Housing; Suleiman Hassan, said “I have approved the request of the ministry to engage few founder staff to facilitate the take off and pay them in line with the personnel service of the Africa Union Commission (AUC).
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will accord diplomatic status to the secretariat staff of AUSC region 2,” he said.
Buhari said the West African Ministers of Sports meeting affirms the seriousness Nigeria and the region attached to sports, adding, “With the new African sports architecture in place, I look forward to seeing Africa sports develop, live and bounce. My country, Nigeria, attaches great importance to sports hence our acceptance to host this very important meeting to provide the need platform for our sub region.”