TRACKING >>Some sports enthusiasts in Gombe State have called on the state government to prioritise sports development as a tool to engage youths and combat drug abuse.
They made the appeal while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Tuesday.
Usman Yakubu, said: “ The state government should shift attention to sports as a way of cutting down the high rate of drug abuse.
“Sports, whether football, basketball or even taekwondo, have the capacity to engage the youth and when such happens, there will be less youths to abuse drugs.”
Barkuwa Kalla, Gombe-based sports analyst, while appealing to the government to use sports as a tool for youth employment, said the sector had the capacity to take millions of youths off the street through meaningful engagement.
Kalla appealed to the state government to set up a special committee to assess the sector with a view to bringing out the potential that sports hold in development and youth reformation.
“A lot of committee have been set up in various sectors to address issues but unfortunately nothing of such has been done for sports. Sports lovers are surprised and anxious in that regard.
“ We expect the new administration to address this issue quickly because Gombe State people are sports lovers. Also sports like football is time bound. The league will soon commence so the team needs adequate preparations,” he said.
Kalla observed that sports development at the grassroots had not been given due attention in the past, adding that grassroots sports development was key to building peace among communities.
Corroborating Kalla, Abubakar Wada, said the new administration of Gov. Yahaya should set up a special committee to revamp activities in the industry.
Wada said: “ Sports have the ability to heal the youth of any social vice and that’s why we are concerned about it. The government should look in that direction to create jobs too.
“If the youths are given a platform to showcase their talents, you will agree with me that Gombe can produce athletes for all kinds of sports that will make Nigeria as a whole proud.”
Mr Emma Sobok, however, disagreed on the need for a special committee for sports, saying: “ It is not necessary since we have the state has a sports commission. It will amount to duplication of function.
“I rather wish that every sport association should have a strong chairman, board members and seasoned coaches. Once the board is strengthened financially, sports glory will be returned to Gombe,’’ he said.