By Dipo Olowookere
Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, is set to receive the ‘Power of Sports Award’ from the International Sports Press Association (ISPA).
The Governor would be bestowed with the recognition in Brussels during the 81st AIPS congress, the largest congregation of professional sports journalists.
During the congress, Mr Wike will also present a landmark paper on Peace and Progress Through Sports in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
His presentation comes up in the morning of May 9, a day after opening of the congress. The honour for Mr Wike will be the first of its kind by AIPS Africa since it took on a new coat from the Africa Sports Journalists Union(ASJU).
The former ASJU in 1980 installed late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola as the First Pillar of Sports in Africa. No other personality has since been given such continental honour
According to president of the continental body, Mr Mitchell Obi, the Rivers State helmsman whose government recently sponsored the African Wrestling Championship, is being recognized for consistently raising the bar of sports matters and effectively using sports as a veritable vehicle for fast track communal growth along the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as well as engaging a booming but restive youth populace in his state and country.
“It is indeed a badge of honour, freely and independently considered and granted and we think strongly that this would serve as an apt catalyst to His Excellency as he continuously strives to put sports on the front burner of his developmental strides,” Mr Obi remarked.
At the global level, only four personalities have been honoured by AIPS, the last being the immediate past president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge of Belgium.
Indeed. the Power Of Sports Award derives its inspiration from the great Nelson Mandela whose school of thought holds that sports has the power to change the world.
For Mr Wike whose delegation is expected in Brussels Tuesday the award stands out from his bulging collection and perhaps reflects the passionate sports nuance of his apt nickname ‘Mr Projects.’
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