Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has, for the umpteenth time, condemned the use of youths as political thugs and instruments of violence, just as he called on all well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to partner his administration to develop sports in the state.

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.

Speaking through his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Retd) on Friday, at the draws, unveiling of the Mascot and presentation of jerseys for the Governor Dickson’s Football Tournament in Yenagoa, he insisted that, youths being the future of any nation, deserve every encouragement to utilise their God-given skills for the overall good of society.

The governor explained that, the tournament, which is also called Restoration Cup, was being organised as part of the state government’s human capacity building efforts to empower youths of the state, through sporting activities.

According to him, though, the government has well-intentioned plans to develop other sports, it is kickstarting the process with football, as the game has gone beyond simple sports entertainment to becoming a major source of wealth creation and career development.

He, therefore, called on young people to take keen interest in football alongside their education, as it provides a platform for self-actualisation and the overall betterment of the society.

While commending the organisers and partners for their contributions to the project, Governor Dickson urged the participants to see the tournament as an opportunity to showcase their talents to the world, adding that, 22 players would be selected to embark on a playing tour of Europe.

His words: ” Nigeria as a country has benefitted in some ways in this flourishing global industry. However, there are still a lot of grounds to cover. The need for the promotion and development of football at the grassroots level is a sure way of positioning the industry in proper perspective.

“It is in the light of this that our administration, from inception, pursued vigorously the design and construction of an ultra-modern Football Academy in Angalabiri in Sagbama Local Government Area as well as the construction of befitting football arenas in all the major cities in the state.

In his remarks, Director-General of the Restoration Cup 2015, Mr Cyril Akika, expressed optimism that, the event will not only engender healthy competition and harness innate potentials in youths, but also create a platform for corporate Nigeria to collaborate with the state government on sports development.

Presenting the logo and mascot of the tournament, its Deputy Director-General, Mr Onoriode Akpe described their symbols and colours as an embodiment of oneness, loyalty and faith, as encapsulated in the restoration agenda of the Dickson-led administration.

Also speaking, Secretary, Technical Committee, Sir Braveman Wodi disclosed that, out of 145 teams that registered for the tournament, 118 grassroots-based sides scaled through the screening process to participate at different venues scattered across the state.

Highlights of the event was the presentation of three (3) golden trophies by the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Retd) and goodwill messages by the Commissioner of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr Felix Tuodolo, his information counterpart, Barr.

Esueme Dan-Kikile, Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Sports Development, Mr Mightyman Aye-Dikuro, and former Executive Member of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr Peter Singabele among others.