Ambode receives Africa’s football legends
Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday received top Africa’s football legends at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja. They will be participating in a testimonial match for the governor as part of activities marking the end of tenure of his administration.
Some of the soccer legends who visited the governor include: Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Didier Zokora, Khalilou Fadiga, Austin Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju, Waidi Akanni, Uche Okechukwu and Seydou Keita.
While receiving them, Ambode said the sense of brotherhood in sports must be played up for the benefits of the continent in terms of scaling up the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African countries.
He urged countries in the continent to look inward and explore the possibility of using sports to grow their economies, saying sports remain a veritable tool to foster growth and development.
Recalling an initiative of his administration known as Project T.H.E.S.E which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Arts and Sports for Excellence, Ambode said right from inception, machineries were set rolling to use sports to grow tourism and Lagos economy.
According to him, “We have always used sports to build bridges and there is this sense of brotherhood anytime that you switch on your television and there is an African playing on any line-up.
”I had this dream when I came in as governor that I could use sports, tourism, entertainment and arts with some sense of hospitality to promote excellence. So, I had something called Project T.H.E.S.E and my dream was to catalyze everything around sports and use it to build tourism and also grow the GDP of Lagos.
”So, that was the dream and why we promoted as many sporting activities as possible so that we could create a platform for tourism which made many people to travel here and just like you have come now, you will lodge in our hotels and the hotels at the end of the day would pay taxes and then we use it to do the infrastructure that we are doing.”
He said though four years may not be enough to do everything but that he was grateful to God for the opportunity to serve the people, just as he expressed optimism that the next administration would take it up, improve on it.
”I am very honoured that you are all here in Lagos to celebrate with me as I finish my tenure in Lagos State. This match is not only for me but for the good of humanity. We are not promoting it because we want to make money out of it but we are actually showcasing the fact that there is still something to be done about sports development.
Speaking on behalf of the footballers, Diouf thanked Ambode for the opportunity for him and others to be in Nigeria to see their fans, vowing to run the show with exciting display during the match on today.