NUGA 2022: We can achieve peace through sports – Gbajabiamila

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila said that sports as a unifying force can be used to promote and sustain peace in the country.

He noted that one of such sporting avenues is the National University Games Association (NUGA), which brings youth from various institutions and backgrounds together to excel.

Gbajabiamila spoke in Abuja on Tuesday when he received a delegation from the University of Lagos on a courtesy visit to his office at the National Assembly.

The delegation, led by the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, was in Abuja to present the torch for the games to Gbajabiamila and solicit his support for the success of the events.

UNILAG is the host of the 26th edition of NUGA, better known as NUGA 2022.

Gbajabiamila stated that apart from promoting peace and unity, sports also helped to improve an individual’s mental health as well as general wellbeing.

The speaker, who is an alumnus of the university, said he was elated over the honour and recalled his younger days when he was a very active sportsman, playing among other games, table tennis and rugby.

As a legislator, Gbajabiamila said one of his passions was the development of sporting infrastructure and the sponsorship of games.

He cited the “five to six mini-sports stadia” he facilitated in his Surulere 1 Federal Constituency to help develop sports.

Speaking on the link between sports and peace, Gbajabiamila added, “We are on the same page that we can always achieve peace through sports.

“I am glad that the university is taking the front seat in driving that thought…

“I am glad and happy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And very important too, sports play a role in improving our mental health.”

The speaker, who said he was glad to receive the torch, promised to support the games, assuring the university that he would facilitate the development of a handball pitch at the institution.

Speaking earlier, Prof. Ogundipe told the speaker that this year’s NUGA would be used to revive all school sporting events and especially, to send a message to the world that Nigeria could organise such events as a peaceful country.

“We want the world to know that there is peace in Nigeria and that we can organise sporting activities so that they can come and see”, he stated.

The VC added that the theme, “Sports and Culture”, was picked for NUGA 2022 to showcase the rich culture of not just Lagos State, but Nigeria at large.

“We want to showcase Lagos this year; that it is Nigeria and that sports and culture are a mix.

“We are going to showcase all the stadia that we have in Nigeria like Teslim Balogun and others”, he added.

Ogundipe thanked Gbajabiamila for the various intervention projects he initiated and completed for UNILAG since becoming a member of the National Assembly.

He said the projects meant that as a legislator, “you are not only working outside but that you remember where you come from.”

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