Read Full Text Of World Press Conference By Minister of Youth & Sports Development Solomon Dalung

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I feel highly delighted to welcome you all to this World Press Conference designed to highlight the activities of the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports Development. First and foremost, I wish to thank you for consistently covering activities of the Ministry.

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is the Federal Government Agency statutorily mandated to monitor, control, coordinate, regulate, organise and administer youth and sports activities in Nigeria.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I assumed office in November, 2015 with the mandate to supervise the Formulation, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of policies and programmes on Youth and Sports development towards wealth creation, youth empowerment, physical fitness and wellbeing, achieving excellence in sports, national unity and sustainable development.
The Ministry envisions a Nigeria with empowered and successful youth in all fields of life and Nigerians that are adequately supported to excel in sports at all levels. We are working to provide a sustainable framework for the formulation and implementation of policies; programmes and initiatives that, in collaboration with other stakeholders, promote and enhance youth and sports development.
Since assumption of office, we have worked assiduously to ensure that our core mandates are not only met but possibly exceeded. In this wise, in Year 2017 we recorded the following milestones in the Sports and Youth sector.

SPORTS SECTOR

Democratization of Appointments into Boards of National Federations.
Appointment into the Boards of Sporting Federations was fully democratized. This singular action informed the emergence of credible leadership for the Federations the immediate dividend of which has been the manifest improvement in the performances of the federations in various continental and international tournaments as reported below.

a) WRESTLING

In Wrestling, Nigeria recorded the following successes:
Won 8 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze at the African Championships in Marrakesh, Morocco from 26th – 30th May, 2017.
1 Silver medal at the World Championships, Paris, France.
Nigeria’s foremost female wrestler, Odunayo Adeokoroye was elected as an Athlete Representative to the United World Wrestling Federation.
Hon. Dr Daniel Igali, President, Nigeria Wrestling Federation was elected as a Member of the United World Wrestling Federation Technical Committee.
Nigeria won the Hosting Rights for the 2018 Africa Wrestling Championships with Port Harcourt, Rivers State as Host City.

b) WEIGHTLIFTING

At the Africa Junior and Youth Athletics Championships held in Entebbe, Uganda, Nigeria won 13 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze medals. Three weightlifters qualified for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, while 13 Weightlifters were discovered at the 3rd Edition of the National Youth.

c) BOXING

At the 2017 Senior Africa Boxing Championships, Congo Brazzaville, 17th – 25th June, 2017 Nigeria won a Silver medal.

d) PARA POWERLIFTING

Nigeria participated in the World Powerlifting Championship in Mexico City from 30th November to 9th December, 2017. The championship was mandatory as a qualifying competition for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. 72 countries entered for the competition with Nigeria presenting 11 athletes and won 9 medals comprising 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze medals.

e) HOCKEY FEDERATION

In Hockey, we achieved the following feats:
Female Hockey Team won Bronze medal at the Africa Cup of Nations (Snr) held at Ismalia, Eqypt, 20-29th October, 2017.
Five (05) Coaches were certified as Grade 3 Coaches by the International Hockey Federation;
Two (02) Umpires were certified as International Hockey Federation;
Prof. Ediga was elected as an Executive Member of the African Hockey Federation;
Samuel Fagunwa became the first Nigerian to officiate at the World League Series;
Nations held in Ismailia, Egypt, 20th – 29th October, 2017.
The performance of the Female Hockey Team was significant if it is noted that the Nigeria Hockey Team last featured in any international tournament about 14 years ago.

f) BASKETBALL

The following medals were won by Nigeria at the underlisted competitions:
Gold medal at the FIBA Women Afro Basketball Championships, Bamako, Mali, 18-27 August, 2017
Silver medal at the FIBA Men Afro Basketball Championship, Tunis, Tunisia, 8- 16 September, 2017
Silver medal at the FIBA Africa U-18 3×3 Boys, Bamako, Mali, 22-24 September, 2017
Silver medal at the FIBA Africa U-18 Girls, Mali, 22-24 September, 2017
Gold at the FIBA Africa 3×3 Nations Cup (Men) Senior, Lome, Togo, 2-5 November, 2017
Silver medal at the FIBA Africa 3×3 Nations Cup (Women) Senior, Lome, Togo, 2-5 November, 2017.

g) ROWING & YACHTING

1 Gold, 6 Silver and 5 Bronze medals at the Africa Canoe Sprint Championships, Morocco, 25 March – 1 April, 2017

h) SCRABBLE

Gold medal (Best Country Trophy) at the World English Scrabble Championships, Nairobi, Kenya, 6-12 November, 2017.

i) TAEKWONDO

Silver medal at the Korea Open Championships (Senior) Suncheon, South Korea (1-5 July, 2017).

j) TABLE TENNIS

2 Gold and 3 Bronze medals at the 2017 ITTF World Junior and Cadet Circuit, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 11-15 October, 2017.

k) JUDO

Gold at the Africa Judo Open (Senior), Dakar, Senegal, November 2017.

l) TENNIS

Silver medal in ITF 18 & Under Tournament (Boys), Cote d’Ivoire, 12-16 April, 2017.
1 Silver medal at the ITF 18 & Under Tournament (Girls), Zimbabwe, 7-12 August, 2017
1 Gold medal at the ITF 18 & Under World Championship, Benin Republic, 12-17 September, 2017.

m) BADMINTON

2 Bronze medals at the Senior Africa Mixed/Individual Championship, Johannesburg, South Africa, 16-23 April, 2017.
2 Gold medals at the Ivory Coast International Senior Championships, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 29th June, 2017.
3 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze medals at the Benin International Senior Open, Cotonou, Benin Republic, 6-9 July, 2017.
1 Bronze medal at the Uganda Para-Badminton Tournament, Kampala, Uganda, 25-30 April, 2017 .

n) FOOTBALL

In football, Nigeria made a lot of progress both on and off the pitch. These include:
The Super Eagles qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a game to spare, an outcome that is sustained even with the application of FIFA penalty on the Team for inappropriate fielding of a footballer who already had two yellow cards. The NFF in-house Committee is investigating the circumstance of the development to make appropriate recommendation to Government
Qualification of Super Eagles B (as the home –based Super Eagles team is known) for the finals of the 5th African Nations Championship (CHAN) taking place in Morocco, 13th January – 4th February 2018.
The Super Falcon of Nigeria won for the 8th time the Africa Women Football Championship in December, 2017 and Coach Florence Omagbemi made history as the first person to win the continental championship both as a player and coach.
The appointment of Mr. Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation as President of AFCON, the committee responsible for the organistion of the Africa Cup of Nations as well as a Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions – the most influential committee in world football after the FIFA Council.
The election of Justice Ayotunde Philips (a former Chief Judge of Lagos State) into the FIFA Ethics Committee (Adjudicatory Chamber).
The Sponsorship Agreement between the NFF and AITEO Energy Resources Limited for the payment of the salaries of Coaches.
The Partnership Agreement with ZENITH International Bank for capacity building for administrators, youth development programme and payment of Super Eagles’ Head Coach.
Sponsorship Agreement between the NFF and AITEO for the FA Cup.
Partnership Agreement between the NFF and Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group as Official Food Sponsor of the Super Eagles.
Partnership Agreement between the NFF and PayPorte Global Systems Limited, as Official Online Store of the NFF.
Silver medal by the Super Eagles B at the 2017 WAFU Cup competition, hosted by Ghana in September 2017.
The U20 Women National Team, Falconets, are only two matches away from qualifying for the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals taking place in France next year.
Appointment of Seyi Akinwunmi, NFF 1st Vice President as a Member of the CAF Committee on Youth Competitions;
Appointment of Shehu Dikko as a Member of the Committee on Inter-Clubs and Club Licensing Matters;
Appointment of Gusau as a Member of the Organizing Committee for CHAN;
Appointment of Dr Singabele as a Member of the CAF Medical Committee;
Appointment Sen. Obinna Ogba as a Member of the Committee for Futsal and Beach Soccer;
Appointment of Ahmed Fresh into the CAF Technical and Development Committee
Appointment of Chisom Mbonu into the CAF Women’s Football Committee.
Inclusion of Mr Amaju Pinnick as a Member of the influential CAF Emergency Committee.
Inclusion of Shehu Dikko as a Member of the FIFA Football Stakeholders Committee.
In addition to the above, the NFF has commenced the building of FA Secretariats in each of the 6 geo-political zones, located as follows;
Osun State (South West);
Abia State (South East);
Borno State (North East);
Kwara State (North Central);
Bayelsa State (South South) and;
Jigawa State (North West).
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we have enhanced our relationship with the World Football Governing body, FIFA to the point where the Organisation has decided to hold an Executive Football Summits (EFS) in February 2018, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
It is worthy of note that the Nigeria Football Federation was fully integrated into the FIFA Connect system in December 2017. FIFA Connect is the centralized portal for the registration of football players and other stakeholders. This means that registration of all players and other stakeholders in Nigerian Football will be done by the NFF.
It is common knowledge that in order to eliminate all manner of rancour and distractions around Nigeria’s preparation and participation at the 21st FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, an agreement was signed between the NFF and the Super Eagles players, in November 2017.

ii) YOUTH SECTOR

The Review of Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP 2009-2011) in collaboration with ECOWAS and International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The Review of Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP 2009-2011) in collaboration with ECOWAS and International Labour Organisation (ILO) was developed by the Ministry with technical support of the International Labour organization, as a strategy to respond effectively to the challenge of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
The NIYEAP outlines various programmes for implementation under four themes, namely; Employability, Entrepreneurship Development, Employment Creation and Equal Opportunity.
The objective of NIYEAP is to evolve strategies that would assist in mitigating the problem of youth unemployment in Nigeria.
National Peer Group Educator Programme on Financial Inclusion for Volunteer National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Members
The aim of the Programme is to increase the financial literacy levels of the vulnerable and marginalized segment of the Nigerian Society through sustained engagement of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to provide financial education training to Volunteer Corps Members who will in turn step down these training to the identified target.
As at December, 2017, the Programme has provided the following:
Provision of financial education training to 1, 477 Volunteer Corps Members and 60 NYSC Officials across the Country during the Orientation Camp.
Engagement and equipment of the trained Volunteer Corps Members with Financial Inclusion Jackets and relevant training materials to provide financial education to young people and other vulnerable segments across the Country.
A number of Key Segments of the Nigerian Population (e.g MSMEs and Farmers) financial literacy and inclusion levels have increased.
A number of young entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups’ are knowledgeable about financial inclusion and are able to make informed financial decisions that will improve their financial wellbeing have increased
C. International Youth Day
The Ministry, in collaboration with Youth Development & Reformation Initiatives (YDIR), MDAs, Civil Society Groups, Partners and other relevant stakeholders, marked the 2017 International Youth Day on 14th August, 2017 at the Nigeria Merit House, Maitama, Abuja. About 300 youth representatives drawn from the 36 states of the Federation and FCT attended the event with the theme, Youth, Building Peace to celebrate young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.
D. African Youth Day Celebration:
The Ministry through the Department of NSM and in collaboration with MDAs, International Partners, Agencies and other stakeholders marked the 2017 African Youth Day on 16th of November 2017 at Statement Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja. The programme sought to draw more attention, actions and initiatives to investments on youth, who represent Africa’s asset which will determine the Development path of Africa over the next 50 years as well as position the continent towards realizing the “Africa We Want,” a strong, united and influential global player and partner as envisioned in Agenda 2063.

E. Sittings of the Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP)
Two Sittings of the 3rd Session of the Nigerian Youth Parliament were held at the Auditorium of the Senate Wing of the National Assembly from 14th – 21st May, and 20th -24th November, 2017. 109 parliamentarians representing the 109 Senatorial Districts of the Federation participated at the sittings which deliberated and passed resolutions on diverse topics on matters of the Youth. The outcome of the deliberated supported the adoption of the ‘Not too Young to Run’ Bill, in the on-going review of the 1999 Constitution.

F. Youth Stakeholders Forum
Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in partnership with the Ministry, organised a Youth Stakeholders Forum on Tuesday 27th, June, 2017 at the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja with the theme: Empowering the Youth to Change Nigeria: Moving form Rhetoric to Action. The Forum was conceived to promote political participation and electoral representation of the Nigeria youth. It was also geared to support the efforts of youth-focused platforms to enhance the voice and political space for the youth population in Nigeria.

G. Reconciliation of the Factionalized NYCN Factions
Following a prolonged leadership crisis in the apex body of Voluntary Youth NGOs in Nigeria – the Ministry, and National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), successfully organised a reconciliatory meeting with the feuding factions of the NYCN on Tuesday, 12th December, 2017. The Ministry successfully brokered peace among the various factions and resolved to the constitute a Transition Committee to oversee affairs of the Council and conduct election to offices of the Council within 6 months. The Committee would soon be inaugurated.

MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF THE MINISTRY IN 2018

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, 2018 is an intense sporting year for the nation. It is our hope that the year will see the consolidation of the successes of the 2017.
In the sporting front, the nation through the Ministry will be involved in the following continental and international sporting fiestas:
African Nations Championship (CHAN) scheduled to hold from 13th January – 4th February, 2018 in Morocco.
XXI Commonwealth Games, Goal Coast 2018, Australia holding in April, 2018.
Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals at the Russia Federation.

Youth Olympics at Argentina in October, 2018.
Nigeria will host the 21st Edition of the Africa Senior Athletics Championships scheduled for 30th July – 5th August, 2018 in Asaba, Delta State.

At the Youth front, the Ministry will deepen its activities in job creation and employment for Nigeria youths through:
Increased investment in youth skills acquisition, capacity building and internship.
Financial empowerment through aggressive knowledge development in financial inclusion and intermediation.
Constitution of the 4th Session of the National Youth Parliament.
Launching of the revised National Youth Policy and the National Youth Employment Action Plan.

8.0 CONCLUSION AND APPRECIATION

Distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen you will agree with me that we have done a lot to project the image of Nigeria positively at the international community. The country’s representatives at various international events have won us both laurels and recognitions, which have made the Nation proud. This underscores the interest of the current Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and investments in youth and sports.
In concluding this address, I wish to commend the unflinching support and commitment of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Nigerian youth and the development of sports.

Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Youth and our Sports family for the support and co-operation you have accorded my Ministry during this period. Together, I believe we can lift our nation to the desired sporting heights.
I thank you most sincerely for your patience and kind attention.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria 🇳🇬.

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