The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a mini-stadium in Birnin Kebbi, capital of Kebbi State on Monday turned out a very colourful event, as Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu led top officials of his administration to the site of the project powered by world football –governing body, FIFA and enabled by the Nigeria Football Federation.
Governor Bagudu, his deputy, Colonel Samaila Yombe-Dabe (Rtd), members of the State executive council, permanent secretaries and special advisers joined the representative of the NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau, NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, a couple other NFF officials and the contractors to set off the project.
Bagudu praised FIFA and the NFF for considering Kebbi State worthy of the first of the FIFA Forward 2-0 projects in Nigeria and charged the teeming youth population of the State to take good advantage of the facility to hone their talent and become challengers for global laurels in good time. “I am excited by this project, and it is important that we make good use of it to the maximum. I have always said that sport is an important tool for development in any society. A society can only develop if it searches for, encourages and rewards performance.
“We have a couple of sports facilities in this State but this project will be the premier one by the time the construction is completed. Our youth should take good advantage of these facilities. All you need is to work hard. A man can be the very best if he believes no one else is better than him and he works towards being the best.”
In his remarks, President of the NFF, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick, represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau, congratulated the people of Kebbi State on the momentous occasion while praising FIFA, Kebbi State Governor Bagudu and his administration for total support for the project and the Kebbi State Football Association led by Alhaji Abubakar Ladan for their commitment and resilience.
In his welcome address, Kebbi State FA chairman Abubakar Ladan gave kudos to Governor Bagudu for expeditious approvals towards securing the strategic 4-hectare land space for the project, and for the administration’s recognition, encouragement and support for football as a veritable youth empowerment sector.
An emotional Dr Sanusi thanked God for the realisation of the project, underscoring the power of football as a powerful tool for driving the youth away from social vices and other unproductive ventures.
Governor Bagudu and the dignitaries present later performed the symbolic ground-breaking rite, with the certificate of mandate presented to the contractors, Aron Nigeria Limited led by Engineer Adeola Adenuga. Also at the occasion were the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri, a dozen members of the State executive council, Architect Gambo Ahmadu, NFF Director of Media and Communications, Ademola Olajire and former Nigeria international and personal assistant to the NFF President, Nasiru Jibril.