(Opinion): Governor of Kwara State on Sports Scoreboard By Olaide Ahli

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When Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq emerged as the Governor of Kwara State in 2019, I had major concerns about his interest in sports. I repeatedly questioned whether he could add value to the sports sector. Today, his actions have provided a clear answer to my concerns.

In the bustling heart of Kwara State, a significant transformation is underway under the visionary leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

Since taking office, Governor Abdulrazaq has embarked on a mission to rejuvenate the sports infrastructure, reflecting his profound commitment to promoting sports and nurturing young talent. His administration’s achievements over the past five years illustrate a story of progress and hope for the future of sports in Kwara.

In my findings, I came up with these undeniable changes the governor has brought to the Kwara State sports realm, which Kwarans continue to appreciate to this day:

Revitalizing Kwara United

When there was darkness in Kwara football and hope was lost for our dear team to play in the top football league, the governor brought the light.

One of Governor Abdulrazaq’s earliest and most impactful initiatives was rescuing Kwara United from relegation on November 27, 2019.

Meanwhile, this critical intervention not only restored the team’s place in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) but also rekindled the passion of local football fans. Under his stewardship, Kwara United has enjoyed financial stability, ensuring prompt payment of players—a stark contrast to the financial struggles that have plagued many Nigerian teams.

Does this have a great impact? Yes!

Boosts local football enthusiasm and community spirit.

Ensures financial stability and team morale, leading to better performance.

Enhances Kwara State’s reputation in the national sports arena.

Enhancing Kwara Football Academy (KFA)

The Kwara Football Academy (KFA) has been a beacon of hope for young football talents in the state since its inception.

Governor Abdulrazaq’s focus on grassroots development is evident in the significant upgrades to the academy. Renovations of two out of three hostels have vastly improved living conditions for young athletes, and the completed renovation of the stadium road enhances accessibility.

Further commitments include renovating the third hostel, the kitchen, and the clinic, underlining a comprehensive approach to athlete welfare. Recognizing athletic success, the governor gifted cars to a gold medal-winning table tennis player and a squash player who won four gold medals.

Is this impactful? Yes!

Provides better living and training conditions for young athletes.

Improves accessibility and the overall environment of the academy.

Encourages young talent by recognizing and rewarding achievements.

Developing Handball Facilities

Handball in Kwara previously lacked the necessary facilities, but the governor has changed the narrative.

Renovating and constructing two handball courts and the adjoining gallery have provided state-of-the-art facilities, while new changing rooms equipped with additional toilets cater specifically to the needs of handball players.

These improvements create an environment where athletes can focus on honing their skills and competing at higher levels.

Did it add value? Yes!

Offers modern facilities for training and competition.

Ensures athletes have adequate amenities, enhancing their experience and performance.

Attracts spectators, boosting local interest and support for the sport.

Upgrading the Basketball Court

The renovation of the basketball court is a testament to the governor’s commitment to diversifying sports infrastructure.

This facility not only provides a venue for training and competition but also positions Kwara State as a potential host for regional and national tournaments.

Any advantage? Yes!

Provides a high-quality venue for basketball activities.

Encourages local participation and interest in basketball.

Potentially attracts regional and national tournaments, benefiting the local economy.

Constructing the Squash Court

This is one of the best projects as far as I am concerned because squash facilities are rare in Nigeria.
The new squash court is of international standard and includes the first-ever kids’ squash court.

This facility allows players to train and compete at higher levels, fostering excellence in the sport.

What can it offer?

Offers a professional-grade facility for squash players.

Encourages participation and development in squash.

Positions Kwara State as a venue for competitive squash events.

Established Separate Table Tennis Hall

This is another fantastic project in the sports realm that has earned Governor Abdulrazaq accolades in the sports sector.

The construction of a new table tennis hall highlights the administration’s commitment to providing comprehensive sports amenities. This facility ensures that a wide range of indoor sports can be practiced and enjoyed.

What can it offer?

Provides a dedicated space for table tennis, enhancing training and competition.

Promotes physical fitness and sportsmanship among participants.

Attracts local and regional table tennis events, boosting the sport’s profile.

Renovating the Indoor Hall

The ongoing renovation of the indoor hall promises to deliver improved amenities for various indoor sports once completed.

This renovation is crucial for supporting multiple sports activities in a single, versatile facility.

What is expected after the completion?

Enhances the overall experience for various indoor sports.

Provides a modern, multi-purpose venue for events and competitions.

Encourages greater community participation in indoor sports activities.

A Strategic Vision for the Future

Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s achievements in sports infrastructure are more than just physical upgrades; they represent a strategic vision for the future. By creating an environment that supports athletic excellence and community engagement, he is laying the groundwork for Kwara State to become a beacon of sports development in Nigeria.

According to Mallam Bola Mogaji, the Executive Chairman of the Sports Commission of Kwara State, the governor has many more plans for sports growth and development. This forward-looking strategy aims to build on the existing foundation, ensuring sustainable progress and continued investment in sports.

In five years, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has made remarkable strides in transforming Kwara State’s sports infrastructure. His holistic approach, encompassing financial stability for sports teams, comprehensive facility upgrades, and recognition of athletic achievements, underscores a deep commitment to fostering a vibrant sports culture.

As Kwara State continues on this path, it is poised to become a hub for sports development, setting an example for the rest of the nation. The governor’s vision is not just about building infrastructure but about building a community united by the spirit of sportsmanship and excellence.

A Call to Action for Kwarans

As we celebrate these remarkable achievements, all Kwarans need to maintain and cherish these facilities.

These investments are not just for today but for future generations. Let us all come together to preserve and protect these sports infrastructures, ensuring they continue to benefit our community for years to come.

This editorial is not to merely praise the governor but to encourage him to do more. It is also a call to action for other government officials and philanthropists to contribute to the development of sports in the state. Collective efforts will go a long way in ensuring sustained progress and excellence in Kwara State’s sports sector.

Olaide Ahli
President, Kwara Development Group
Sports Administrator

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