Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has called on African countries to look inward and explore the possibility of using sports to grow their economies.
Ambode, who made the call when he received some African football legends at the Lagos House in Alausa on Friday, said that sports remained a veritable tool to foster growth and development.
The ex-football stars, who are expected to participate in a testimonial match on Saturday in the governor’s honour, include Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Didier Zokora, Khalilou Fadiga, Austin Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju, Waidi Akanni, Uche Okechuku and Seydou Keita.
He explained that the sense of brotherhood in sports must be played up for the benefits of the continent, in terms of scaling up the gross domestic product of African countries.
The governor said that his administration considered sports as a priority by initiating the Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Arts and Sports for Excellence Project.
Ambode, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, said, “We have always used sports to build bridges and there is this sense of brotherhood anytime that you switch on your television and there is an African playing on any line-up, be it Liverpool; be it Tottenham.
“That feeling is always there and that brotherhood is something that we can use to grow the economies of Africa nations. I had this dream when I came in as governor that I could use sports, tourism, entertainment and arts with some sense of hospitality to promote excellence.
Speaking on behalf of the footballers, Diouf thanked governor for the opportunity to reconnect with football fans in Nigeria.
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