By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo
Organizer of the just concluded 2021 Ijesha Grand Marathon, Mr. Tijani Remilekun Usman, has disclosed that his desire is to ensure that no talent is wasted among the youth in Ijesaland.
To actualise this and discover talents, Usman, the Chief Executive Director of Beltij Nigeria Limited said he organised the Ijesa Grand Marathon which would be held yearly.
He added that the sporting event is to curb youth restiveness, crimes and gangsterism in Ijesaland and its environs.
Mr. Usman, who stated this at the April edition of ‘Stakeholders Forum’, a monthly Guest Appearance programme of the Osun Chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), decried the state of sports facilities in the state and called on the government and other organizations to embark on sports infrastructural development for talented Osun indigenes in various sports to train to reach the top level.
The business mogul said: “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.”
Usman explained that Ijesaland, especially Ilesa, now enjoys peace since the marathon ended.
He said the engagement of youths in sporting activities would address the growing insecurity 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.
“We thank Mr. Usman for staging the marathon in our dear state and we are happy with the initiative which is a clear diversification from the normal norm of football competition. As Sports Writers, we are ready to work with any private individual or any corporate body that wishes to add value to Osun Sports development through sponsorship and organization and we look forward to working with you in your subsequent programmes aimed at assisting talented Osun youth in sports,” stated Agbor.
There were remarks by the initiator of the marathon, Coach Yinka Ogunkeye and the Former Vice President of SWAN, South West, Alhaji Muideen Adeleke among others who reeled out benefits of organizing and promoting other sports to ensure that youth can have varieties of platforms to showcase their God given talents.