Oshodi sees brighter future for Lagos’ sports
Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi, who has been held as one of the most proactive leaders in Nigerian sports following recent developments in Lagos, says the state still has a lot to do to achieve global greatness.
Oshodi’s tenure has brought a lot of vibrant programmes to the state, including the Classics, which has seen the world’s best players in various sports coming to Lagos to play against local stars. But he says such events still needed continued tweaking to make Lagos Africa’s sports hub.
Speaking at the weekend, Oshodi says, “there is always room for improvement. I think I would have focused more on school sports because going to the foundation is the only way we will succeed as a nation. Get the children playing different sports from primary school, which was the case 40 years ago and we have done a lot in this area but there is a lot of scope for improvement,” he said.
Oshodi, a board member of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation (CTTF), attributed the success recorded by the state to the enormous support he got from Governor Babatunde Fashola.
“It has been very easy working with Governor Fashola, but more than that it has been an absolute delight. Indeed, any success we have achieved during my tenure is based on the support I received from him. He is not only supportive but is extremely knowledgeable about sports, which has helped me a great deal. When you have a boss who not only supports you but also has vast knowledge and intelligence, it helps to keep you sharp and motivated, which ultimately brings out the best in you,” he said.
According to Oshodi, “The support we received from the Governor, my colleagues in the Executive Council and the international and national federations across these sports was wonderful. The Lagos Classics brought together a wide range of government and private sector officials to work together and the results we achieved were fantastic. It is common to put down Civil and Public servants in this country but my experience with many of them was wonderful. To put together events that attract world class international athletes takes a lot of planning. I must thank and congratulate all those involved from the Immigration Services who oversaw the arrival of foreign guests, protocol officers, security services down to our sports officers in Lagos who went above the call of duty and this was what made the event a success. It gives me great pride to have led such an excellent team. Lagos is now the centre of sports tourism this side of Africa.”
Oshodi also reiterated Lagos State’s stance on the use of professional athletes for the National Sports Festival, saying, “our view in Lagos since the days of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been consistent. The NSF should be an avenue for seeking out new young talent who can then grow into national stars. The participation of our elite athletes in the NSF serves no purpose. I make bold to say that this is just a concoction for those states, who judge their development only by the medals they win. It would even be understandable if they developed many of these elite athletes they intend to use but in many cases they just use their superior funding to buy over young men and women who have been developed by Coaches in Lagos and other states that have grassroots programmes. Either way we will continue to develop our young athletes and they will continue to represent us in the NSF,” he explained.