By Abubakar Hassan

Niger State Commissioner for Youth Affairs and Sports Development, Mr. Emmanuel Umar has said that the Maikunkele Stadium project initiated by the last administration of Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu was viable, realistic and achievable within the life-span of this administration, but it takes political will and funding to achieve that in the face of the current paucity of funds worldwide.

Mr. Umar stated this yesterday, when he embarked on sports facilities tour, adding that from what he saw there was passion, intent and desire by the state Governor, Alh. Abubakar Sani Bello to move sports forward in the state.

The commissioner was accompanied by the state Director of Sports, Alh. Baba Sheshi Katcha and other directors from the ministry on the visit to the abandoned Maikunkele Modern Stadium, the ongoing Minna Sports Complex at Ahmadu Bahago Roundabout, Habibu Shu’aibu Sports Complex, 123 Sports facility, Bako Kontagora Stadium, Handball Complex and the Minna Sports Club facility.


He maintained that the project was dear to the governor as it was to Nigerlites, but that funding was the major obstacle to the project, promising that they would work on the file of the project and advice appropriately, including talking to partners.

Mr. Emmanuel observed that in the past, a lot of men and women in the state had excelled in various sporting activities, hence the renewed passion and interest of the governor to make it happen again.

The commissioner observed that sports’ facilities were key to sports development and that the state was blessed with a lot of sports’ facilities which were in need of facelift, adding that most of the projects were ongoing but had stopped due to lack of funds.

He said, of recent the governor had shown interest in seeing the projects completed and that the projects would be reviewed to see those that can be completed in no distant time.

“What we want to do as a ministry is to review some of these projects to see those we can be able to do as quickly as possible because there is no way you can have good sports without facilities,” said the commissioner.

Despite paucity of funds according to the commissioner, they will do their best to carry on with those that can be easily completed, while those that are capital intensive would be taken in stages so that Nigerlites can make use of them.

The Commissioner also observed that sports was very important to the life of an individual, saying sports has the tendency of reducing one being prone to diseases and also reduced pressure on our hospitals.