Former DG NSC, Ekeji’s SportsVille Award thrills Minister’s aid, Yola
…as Naija Ratels’ owner commends credibility
BY BEN NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
The award being bestowed on former Director General of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), Patrick Ekeji by SportsVille has thrilled seasoned sports administrator and aid to the minister of sports, Abba Yola even as the proprietor of high riding Naija Ratels’ women football club Paul Edeh commends the credibility of the organisers.
Yola, an Awardee said besides being honoured by the organisers, he is particularly happy with the award being bestowed on former Director General of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), Patrick Ekeji, adding that the ex-NSC boss is one Nigerian that has done well when it comes to sports administration and deserves whatever honour that comes his way.
“Ekeji is an excellent sports administrator. He was my boss at the National Sports Commission (NSC) and I can attest to his brilliance, thoroughness and ability. He took Nigerian sports to an enviable height during his regime.
“He would be remembered for his pet “Team Nigeria” project that attracted the private sector to Nigerian sports. I am happy the organisers of the Sportsville Awards found him worthy to be honoured,” he said.
Speaking on the Awards, the proprietor of Naija Ratels, Paul Edeh said he was pleasantly surprised and really elated by the award as he never saw it coming.
“I feel really elated and enjoyed by the honour bestowed on me by the organisers of the SportsVille Awards. Frankly it is an unsolicited award that came to me as a huge surprise. As a matter of fact, I have rejected awards in the past where the organisers sought for pecuniary benefits. All that we have been able to achieve in sports over the years has been done with the right intentions and not in expectations for a reward or award.
“So when I was contacted and informed that I was to receive the SportsVille Award along with 15 others, I was surprised. I believe that the organisers may have noticed the series of impacts that we may have made in sports generally and women football specifically over the years. So I count it a rare privilege to be honoured along with other prominent Nigerians who have been in the sports scene far longer than me.
Edeh described the SportsVille Award as a very credible award saying, “I did a bit of research on the award when I was informed and found that it was an award that genuinely seeks to celebrate and honour Nigerians who have contributed to sports and in Nigeria and across the globe. The array of recipients of the 2023 edition of the SportsVille Awards is a testament to the credibility of the awards. I did not solicit for the award either directly or indirectly. Hence, I am convinced that it is credible and one that should be encouraged to continue.”
Edeh a lawyer and sports administrator also said, “Like the saying goes, the reward for hard work is more work. The implication of this award for me is that I am obligated to continue to give back to society using sport as a platform. This award for me is like a propeller which will propel me to do far more than I have done in the past with the support of my team members. It is indeed very gratifying to see that what we consider to be nothing is being amplified with such a prestigious award.”
He disclosed that Ratels Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) has a lot of activities planned for 2023 which will be unveiled very soon. He said among the programmes planned include the RSDF flagship programme the Sheroes Cup which will hold sometime this year along with the Sheroes Award 2023.
“We intend to raise the bar and we hope that the impact will be felt across the country. We will also be organising more youths oriented programmes towards developing sports in spheres other than football. We will also be unveiling a very robust partnership with the FCT Administration that will encourage youth participation in sports. These and many more initiatives are planned for this year”.
The Sportsville award is billed for this Saturday at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, with Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, as chairman of the day, while Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, is the special guest of honour.