President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, as a member of the Federal Government delegation to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, revealed this on Thursday when he led a delegation from the International Paralympics Committee on a courtesy visit to the governor at the Lagos House in Ikeja.
He said the appointment was in recognition of the massive investment and commitment to sports development which Governor Ambode exhibited in the last three years.
Handing over the letter of appointment to the governor, the minister described Lagos as home to sports, saying it was gratifying that Ambode had repositioned sports as a catalyst for development and growth in the state.
He said, “The President’s approval of you as a member of that delegation is borne out of the conviction that you have been one of the governors that have invested heavily in sports and also supported sports.
“Lagos is home to sports and so we are always here. We are always here because of the very friendly environment and a good relationship the Ministry enjoys with the Lagos State government.”
Dalung stressed further that the delegation from the Committee was on the visit as part of the bid by Nigeria to host the International Paralympics Championship in Lagos come 2019.
He disclosed that apart from conducting training for Nigerian Paralympics Association and stakeholders, the delegation would also inspect the facilities to be used when the country gets the hosting right for the tournament.
Responding, Governor Ambode thanked President Buhari for the appointment with an assurance that Nigerians would be made proud at the end of the day.
He specifically allayed fears in some quarters over the losing streak suffered by the team in their friendly matches.
Ambode, however, noted that the succession of defeats to Atletico Madrid, England and Czech Republic was part of the strategy to understand the areas to focus on in having a well-rounded team.
“With our morale and physical support, Nigerians would be made proud,” he said. “People should not bother about what they are seeing with the friendly matches; they are supposed to be friendlies and I am sure the team will put all their energy and make Nigeria proud.”
He also assured the delegation the sports would continue to be accorded the pride of place, saying his administration was committed to creating an enabling environment for sports to thrive in Lagos and by extension in Nigeria.