President Muhammadu Buhari says there is more than enough need now for the private sector to support sports development in Nigeria.
Buhari, who was represented by Youths and Sports Development Minister Solomon Dalung, gave the charge while declaring open the 21st edition of the African Senior Athletics Championships (ASAC) tagged “Asaba 2018’’.
He said sports could only develop with the right facilities in place and when the private sector keys into financing it in the country.
President Buhari, while commending the Delta Government for its efforts to make the championships’ hosting successful, also lauded the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) for giving Nigeria the hosting right.
“I am happy to recognise the fact that a large contingent of athletes and officials from Africa are participating in the competition.
“However, I urge all participants to always remember that the aim of the competition is not just about winning but engendering friendliness.
“This is because sports and sports competitions have become a good avenue to unite the people.
“Therefore, the contributions of the private sector will help to build sports in the country by providing the right facilities like what we have here in Asaba,’’ he said.
Buhari also acknowledged the fact that the Delta government has put in much to host the championships, and urged the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, to keep the flag flying.
Earlier, Okowa had in a remark thanked God that Asaba was hosting the championships, and urged all participants to feel free, savour the serene environment and enjoy the activities.
“It is a thing of joy for us as a state to provide a befitting stadium for the event,” he said.
The opening ceremony had the march-past by representatives of all participating countries.
It also witnessed cultural dances and other displays by various ethic groups in Delta, as well as other activities.