After leading Delta State to win the National Sports Festival in Lagos, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan hoped that Nigerians could make their athletes develop high competitive and patriotic attitude in their fields, saying only such a change could bring out the best from the athletes.
He said that athletes would be more committed and dedicated if they enjoyed adequate support from the authorities.
Dr. Uduaghan said Nigerians should rethink the prevailing culture of treating their sports men and women shabbily when they fail to win or when they have past their competitive years.
The Governor was the guest of Channels Television, breakfast programme, Morning Ride.
He was particularly displeased with the treatment meted to Sprinter, Blessing Okagbare who performed well in her heats at the London Olympics, but floundered in the Finals. Said Dr. Uduaghan:
" Immediately she failed, people began to send her uncomplimentary text messages saying that Warri no dey carry last until Okagbare."
According to the Governor, "Blessing almost went into depression, because she was so disappointed and frustrated but I had to call her to counsel her. We invited her over to the state and that gave her the needed encouragement to overcome her depression."
Governor Uduaghan said Nigerians must learn to appreciate and support those who use their talents to serve their father land, bring joy and honour to their countrymen."
He said that athletes should be appreciated especially when they retire. We must have a plan for their retirement because every sports man and woman looks forward to life after sports and it is important to guarantee their future. In Delta, we try to employ them and when they are no longer active in sports, they can take of themselves thereafter".
He said the secret of Delta state success in sports stemmed from the fact that the future of athletes is quaranteed especially .