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‘Positive youth development through sport’


 Al-Hassan Yakmut

Al-Hassan Yakmut

The Director General (Special Duties), Ministry of Niger Delta, Mallam Al-Hassan Yakmut, has advocated the use of sport as means of promoting social inclusion and empowering people with special needs.

Yakmut, a former Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), has also urged Nigerians and other Commonwealth nations to use sport to promote responsible leadership among youth and also enhance life skills through sport for children and youths.

He spoke at the 2016 International Day Of Sport For Development And Peace (IDSDP) event, which was organized recently by Commonwealth Youth Sport For Development And Peace Working Group, at the University of Ibadan.

According to Yakmut, sport is the most organized activity that youth engage in, either as recreational sport or competitive sport.
“Sport offers an opportunity for physical and psychological safety, skills and character building, emotional intelligence; and most importantly, it offers an opportunity for inclusion and community building, alleviation of juvenile delinquencies and promotion of community safety,” he stated.

Yakmut, a member, Commonwealth Advisory Board on Sports (CABOS), further stated that sport curriculum in primary schools should be revisited so as to enhance life skills through sport for children and youths.

“The public should be oriented on the positive outcomes from adolescent and young people’s participation in sport and recreational exercises. Community based youth sport and recreational centers/spaces should be provided as platforms for youth civic engagement, promotion of well being and healthy living, community participation and promotion of peaceful co-existence among young people from diverse backgrounds,” he said.

Yakmut also advocated the strengthening inter-community relationships and peaceful coexistence among communities through Inter- community novelty matches, just as he urged communities to encourage the provision of playgrounds for adolescents and young people. “Outdoor/Indoor games should be promoted for people with disabilities as a tool for promoting active healthy
lifestyles and well being. Early introduction of leadership roles among young people should be encouraged and there should be learning of leadership roles through persistent participation in several sports over time.

“Parents/family, coaches, teachers, sport celebrities with integrity, youth workers, community leaders, administrators and other stakeholders working with or for young people should harness their mentorship and role modeling influence towards achieving positive outcomes from youth participation in sport.

“Tertiary institution’s sporting events such as Nigeria Universities Games (NUGA), Nigeria Colleges of Education Games (NICEGA), Nigeria Polytechnic Games (NIPOGA), National School Sport Federation (NSSF), Federal Colleges Game (FEDCO Game) etc should be harnessed as a vehicle towards promoting Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) in Nigeria. Sport should be used to accelerate the normalization of internally displaced persons,” Yakmut stated.

Meanwhile, the Africa Regional Representative,
Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace Working Group, Pharm. John Oluwadero, has commended Yakmut for his encouragement and support towards the success of the event.

In a letter of appreciation made available to The Guardian, Oluwadero said: “I write in my capacity as the Africa Regional Representative, Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development and Peace (CYSDP) Working Group to appreciate your presence at the event organized by CYSDP to mark 2016 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) at the University of Ibadan.

“We appreciate your encouragement and support towards the success of the event despite our inadequacies. We are also grateful for your informing presentation on the topic ‘Positive Youth Development through Sport’. Your presentation was very resourceful for our delegates during the working group session. I look forward to building an exciting working relationship with you in my capacity as CYSDP Africa Regional Representative.”

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