President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the private sector to lend their support to sports by sponsoring more sporting activities in the country.
The president made the call last Saturday in Kaduna during the finals of the National Hockey Super League competition organised by the Nigeria Hockey Federation (NHF).
Jonathan was represented at the event by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
According to him, sports is both a recreational activity and a tool for business all over the world, as small and large businesses sponsor sporting activities to promote their products and services.
“We have recognised that sports, apart from its health benefit and recreational value, is key to social mobilisation and youth empowerment. It reinforces national unity, promote peace and peaceful coexistence as well as breeds love and understanding,” Jonathan noted.
He congratulated the NHF for promoting the game of hockey in the country, which he described as challenging, exciting and popular.
“As one of the ten most popular games in the world, hockey is played at both local and international levels with outstanding clubs and world class players who make a living as professionals in the game.
“You make our nation proud as our good ambassadors wherever you find yourselves” Jonathan said.
In his address, the President of the NHF, Senator Abdul Ningi, described sports as a serious national endeavour employed as a tool for national cohesion, international public relations and diplomacy.
“It is an aspect of our national life that mirrors our pride, emotion and credibility. Hence, government sees it as more than a means of recreation or entertainment.
“It is on this note that the board of the Nigeria Hockey Federation is working round-the-clock to bring back the lost glory of our dear game in Nigeria” Ningi said.
He described the concept of the league as a great landmark that would guarantee a leap beyond where we were and where we hoped to be in the nearest future as it relates to the developing the game of hockey and winning laurels for the country at the international arena.
The competition tagged “Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan National Hockey Super League” kicked-off on August 22 at the Murtala Mohammed Square Hockey field in Kaduna with participating clubs drawn from across the federation.
The Police Machine and the Union Bank clubs qualified for the final where the bankers clinched the cup by defeating the police team by 1-0.