A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Ambassador, Emmanuel Ejiogu has urged government to adopt sport as an instrument of peace and growth. He also urged philantropists and corporate organisations to invest in sporting activities because its helps to develop individuals as well as unite the nation.
Speaking at Divine Step Schools, Lagos, yesterday ahead of next week’s commemoration of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), Ejiogu, who is the president of Youth Orientation Development, a non-governmental organisation affiliated to UNESCO, said “Sport has proven to be a cost effective and flexible tool in promoting peace and development objectives. Due to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values, sport is ideally positioned to contribute towards the UN objectives for development and peace.
“To raise awareness of this potential, April 6, of every year was declared as the IDSDP by the UN General Assembly. We are therefore calling on government and well meaning Nigerians to invest more on sporting activities as it can help bridge our gaps, break down barriers, mend fences and build our infrastructures.”
He noted that a country like Nigeria that is already bedevilled with so many discordant elements should embrace sports as a flexible tool in promoting peace and development.
He said the theme for this year’s celebration, which is “Sporting Together for a Peaceful Nation,” is apt as the United Nations is aware of the positive influence sport can have on the advancement of human rights, social and economic development.
Echoing Ejiogu’s view, UNESCO-YOD representative from Germany, Mrs. Clara Odeh said sports exposed participants to important key values that would help them form great personalities.
“The practice of sport is a recognised instrument for promoting peace. It also plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts. It is indeed a powerful tool to strengthen social networks, and to promote ideals of peace, solidarity and tolerance,” she said.
The Proprietress of the school, Mrs. Francisca Nwachukwu expressed optimism that through the awareness the nation would take decisive steps that would bring the desired results.