The Special Adviser on Political and Mobilization Matters to the Governor of Ondo State, Akin Akinbobola received veteran coaches, referees and sports administrators in Ondo State under the auspices of Integrated Sports Group (ISG) in his office on Tuesday 6th of September, 2016. ISG is a body which comprises of sports administrators’ cuts across all sporting activities, including Wrestling, Swimming, Basket ball, Table tennis, Football etc.
The ISG paid a courtesy visit to Akinbobola as a member of the sporting community, to discuss the interest, and future of sports in Ondo State. They appreciated Akinbobola for his immense contribution at Sports development in the state, having started from a football coach, to an Instructor with the Ondo State sports institute, Senior Special Assistant on Sports and later the Chairman of the Ondo State Football Agency ODSFA, where he served before assuming the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Mobilization matters. The coordinator of the ISG, Mr Dapo Ajibade, said they are here, based on the discussion Akinbobola had with him where he initiated the idea, on the need to bring all sports administrators, present and past together, with a view to support the aspiration of Mr Eyitayo Jegede S.A.N. They have come to intimate him that they want to start going out, soliciting support of all stakeholders, hence they need to start with him, as an initiator of this idea and in his capacity as the special adviser on political and Mobilization, to the Governor.
Akinbobola who in turn, appreciated the commitment and concern of the sports veterans for sports development in the state, reiterated that Ondo State, under Governor Olusegun Mimiko has performed brilliantly in the areas of professional and competitive sports development, he opined that Dr Olusegun Mimiko has laid a solid foundation for sports development in Ondo State, he believes however, that the focal point for the new administration should be more into the area of talent discovery and talent development. In his words, he said, if we focus more on discovery and development in many, across all sports, professionalism will ordinarily, ultimately fall in place, and Ondo State will specifically benefit tremendously.
He noted, that funding can be a problem, but on the strength of the fact that Eyitayo Jegede is a sports person who in the 70’s/80’s played active volleyball at National level, it makes it easy to get his support in making sports a popular household affair in the state. Talent discovery and development will require facilities and equipments such as Pitches, Tracks, Gymnasiums, Tracksuits, Balls, Boots etc. which will be capital intensive, but through appropriate policies, we may work out a sports development trust fund, this can be through indirect taxes of just N5 to N20, which will accumulate, and will be used procure sporting materials, and develop facilities to augment whatever government is voting for sports.
He charged the ISG in the spirit of “Irokoism” which he described as selfless service to the people, a deep commitment to provision of abundant life for greater number of persons, especially the ones at the lower wrung of the ladder to go and produce a comprehensive paper which will serve as a blueprints on how the new administration can go about the talent discoveries and talent development projects across the 18 local government. The same spirit, with which Governor has been able to bring to bear, the unprecedented developments we are enjoying today in Ondo State, even beyond sports, mentioning the Mother and Child Hospital which has conducted of over 50,000 free deliveries and over 1,500 Ceasarean Sections free of Charge in State of the earth facilities, Urban Renewal, which has given birth to our neighbourhood markets, Mega schools and our Free Bus shuttle which takes over 53,000 students to school and back, nonstop for over 4 years running etc. he said all these programmes must be sustained and the new Eyitayo Jegede Adminstration will be able to take it to the next level.
Akinbobola drew their notice to the fact, that, sport has enormous potentials, it can serve as Wealth creation, Job creation, Recreational activities for a large number, in the populace; it can promote our youths to become world class stars and celebrities. Regardless of the fact that no one is paying the ISG for this service, they are enjoined to go back and develop structures in all the local governments and mobilize supports for Eyitayo Jegede S.A.N so that the beautiful plans of the ISG can come to fruition, in the interest of Ondo state, particularly, the youths.
In his closing remarks, Ajibade, appreciated Akinbobola as a man full of ideas, resourceful, and a reliable pillar of support for the ISG, and that the group has been resourcefully enriched and revitalized to action. Other members of the group, which include Coach Lawrence Adegbehingbe (former Dir. Of Sports in the Sports Ministry), Coach Mike Fabomi (Chairman, Ondo state football coaches association) Coach Ade Gbangba (Coach of Ondo State all Stars), Coach Martins Adeojo Spoke (Dir. Of Coaching at the Ondo State sports council), Mrs. Mary Akinkuowo, former gold medalist in 400 meters in Ondo state, on the qualities of Akinbobola as a Sports coach, Administrator and astute politician.