The Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Mr Kayode Alabi on Saturday officially commissioned sporting facilities worth N10 million at the premises of Saint Anthony’s Secondary School, Ilorin, Kwara, harping on the readiness of the AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq administration to embrace community efforts towards building a viable state.
The N10 million facilities include a basketball court, handball court, volleyball court, badminton, jersey and other sport paraphenalia to support sports development.
The facility was donated by Chief Executive Officer of Webber Engineering Nigeria limited, Engr. Babalola Opeyemi, as part of his desire to give back to the society and help develop budding talents in Kwara state.
The deputy Governor lauded Babalola, noting that the gesture was in line with the Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq administration’s call for private partnership in promoting sports and driving developmental goals.
“We will not leave Kwara the way we met it as efforts are ongoing to not only build good infrastructure to support an agrarian economy but to also provide the right environment for our young people to grow,” he said.
“If we all give back to the society in our own little way, our society will not be stagnant and together we will build a community of people who constantly think of a greater future. The beauty of what we are doing here today is that dozens of our students here will have the opportunities to not only dream about becoming basketball stars but also have the facility to prepare themselves for that future,” Alabi added.
The donor, Babalola, an alumni of the school, said the gesture was to strengthen educational development and enhance the health and well-being of students through physical recreational activities.
Babalola said the decision to embark on the project was borne out of the realisation that sports through education remain critical to driving socio-economic development in Nigeria.
He added that he had benefitted immensely from the school in building his career, saying no amount of money was too much to give back to the society.
”The absence of modern Sports infrastructure in schools has consequently undermined the mental and physical development of students in Sports.
”And the standard of sports development at my former school (St Anthony) has declined over the years considering the likes of Sunday Bada, Bisi Afolabi and Akinremi sisters that rose through the college to represent Nigeria at International sporting events.
”Our desire is to see these strategic and need-driven youth empowerment interventions culminate in equipping our Nigerian youths for a bright future.
”And there is also need to further provide an enabling and competitive environment together with trainers for the students to thrive because we can’t just leave the kids to only practice without evaluating,” he said.
Babalola, who also disclosed plans to provide more facilities and attract national tournaments to the place, called on wealthy individuals to support the government in all areas.
The principal of the School, Mrs Feyisayo Afolayan thanked Webber for his kind gesture and commended him and other contributors, who contributed their personal funds for the project.
She expressed confidence that the facilities would encourage students towards their mental development and help in raising a new generation of Nigeria youths and called on other corporate organisations to emulate Webber.
The sporting event started a two-day Clinic and Workshop for over 120 kids from selected schools.
An All star team emerged at the commissioning and grand finale which played with the veteran team.
There was also presentation of gifts and sporting equipment to winners of various contests.
Technical Director of the camp, Coach Michael Akuboh praised Webber’s commitments towards giving back to his Alma Mata.
Akuboh called on the government to give attention to sports, saying this space will provide daily inspiration to young ones to achieve at the highest levels of their careers.
High profile basketball veterans, coaches and trainers across the nation were also part of the clinic.
They were led by Coach Peter Ahmedu of Dolphins basketball club, Rasheed Bello, Coach Steve, Perpetua Clement, Baba Jubril of Kwara Falcons and others.