By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun state on Tuesday described Sport as a weapon for peace, character building and instilling leadership traits in youths, who he said are the strength and future of the State.

The governor said this while receiving the Torch of Unity of the 20th National Sports Festival tagged “EDO 2020”, at the Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo

The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Benedict Alabi said “sports to us in the State of Osun is beyond winning medals. It is a weapon for building character and instilling leadership traits in our youths who are our strength and our future”.

While reiterating his administration’s commitment to youths and sports development in the state, Oyetola said his government would continue to pay more attention to sporting activities in schools in order to catch athletes young noting that “the grassroot sports development remains the basis for achieving effective sporting activities.”

He added that huge resources had been committed to the development of sports in the state including the appointment of more qualified coaches and trainers in the State’s Sports Council and construction of a befitting Stadium in the state capital.

The Governor, therefore pledged the government’s continued commitment to provide more enabling environment, modern equipment and adequate resources for the training of sportsmen and women in order to enhance their performances.

Speaking on the significance of moving the Torch of Unity round the states of the federation, Oyetola said the gesture would go a long way to foster peace, unity, love and togetherness among Nigerians especially now that the Country is facing serious security challenges.

“It must be put on record that the importance of moving the Torch of Unity round the States of the Federation cannot be over-emphasised, especially now that the nation is facing serious security challenges.

“The Torch of Unity signifies peace, unity and the spirit of sportsmanship which will be demonstrated at the Festival. Receiving the Torch is an indication of our endorsement of the Festival and a commitment to partake in it with all sense of responsibility and sportsmanship.

“Our youths remain the tool for achieving the much-needed unity at these testy times and always. It is my prayer that Nigeria will continue as a united country and may we through sports achieve Unity and Peace” he added.

He, therefore, charged the athletes who will be rrepresenting the State at the postponed National Sports Festival to be worthy ambassadors of the state.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Hon. Lawal Azeez Olayemi and the Director of Sports, Osun State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Adesiyan Layi commended the governor for availing youths in the State the opportunity to participate in the competition.

The duo assured the Governor of adequate and effective representation through out the period of the tournament and win medals for the state.

“We are more than ready to participate actively in these competitions and by the grace of God, we shall come back with many medals”, Olayemi added.