Nigerian third citizen, Senator David Aleichenu Bonaventure Mark has urged Nigerians to use the power and passion of football to fight against the Book Haram insurgence and disunity in the country.
The Senate President made this known during the recent public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Sports at the National Assembly, stressing that even Boko Haram members watch the game.
“We used to evolve a robust sporting policy to take us where we are. Our young girls and boys need to be encouraged when they do well. There is need to continuation of policy. Today if we change a sports minister instead of continuing from where his predecessor stopped, he would rather start discrediting his predecessor. We must learn to build on what others have done.
“Before I conclude my rather lengthy address for obvious reason that I’m very interested in sports, I want to remind us that the greatest unifying factor in this country is sports. There are talks about religion and regional issues among other differences, but sports is one area we all agree. Once it involves sports, every Nigeria, irrespective of where we come from will agree.
“I believe that even Boko Haram members do watch the game of football. It is our unifying factor and we must begin to look at it from that perspective. If we get it right, we would go a long way in uniting and bringing peace in this country,” he noted. Appealing to the litigants, the former military governor, said:
“Football is only a small fraction of this public hearing, but it is very important. The big question those in court should ask is whether the litigations can help Nigerian football. If it would not help us, they should stop them.
“If they were there just for their personal interest in gains, then they should withdraw the cases from the court. They should take national interest to heart and give Nigerian interest the priority so that it is just a matter of going to win in the court.
While appealing to the irritated sports administrators to quickly withdraw their cases from the courts in the interest of the game and the country at large, Mark assured that: “We will follow up whatever comes out of the Senate public hearing because we are not doing it only for the National Assembly, but for the whole nation and we need all hands to be on deck.
“The media should queue up, the parliament and everybody would equally follow up so that we implement the outcome of the deliberation. I’m sure that if properly implemented, it is going to help us. Many Nigerians were truly worried about our declining performance in sports,” He affirmed.