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Ambode receives torch of unity for National Sport Festival


Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State yesterday received the Torch of Unity heralding next month 19th National Sports Festival to be hosted in Abuja, saying that sports remain a veritable tool to engender the unity and cohesion the nation actually needs.

Speaking at the occasion, Ambode said he was glad that the festival was holding at the end of the day after the 2012 edition held in Lagos.

“It is my pleasure to receive the festival torch of unity and this signals the commencement of the 19th National Sports Festival that would take place in Abuja. Just like what we have been told, the last festival was held here in Lagos six years ago and being the last host, this is the last point of call before the torch goes back to Abuja.

“We have a very strong contingent that we are sending to the festival because we believe strongly that sports is a veritable tool that we can use to command the unity and the cohesion that this nation actually needs at this time,” he said.

He then appealed to politicians to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship in the coming general elections, saying that beyond winning at the polls, the real essence of the exercise is to create a stronger bond and cohesion among Nigerians.

Also speaking, the Executive Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Kweku Tandor, said 442 male and female athletes, 81 coaches and 50 other officials including welfare and medicals would represent the state at the festival.

He said the state contingent would be made up of athletes that have been training and taking part in the state organised competitions over the years, adding that it would be profitable on the long run rather than looking for foreign based professionals.

“One of the things that we have refused to do in Lagos is to go all over the world and start looking for athletes to represent us because for us we see the festival not just as a competition, but we see it as a developmental tool and it’s for us, a measure of the work that we have been doing over the years in developing our athletes,” he said.

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