The Minister of Sports, who is the Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi has reiterated the Federal Government's resolve to provide enabling environments for the stimulation and promotion of grassroots sports development in the country.
The Minister gave this commitment on Friday January 31, 2014 when he played host to the President of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa (KCF-A), Garry Kasparov accompanied by the delegation of the Nigeria Chess Federation.
While delivering an address at the occasion, the representative of the Minister, Gregory Iyogun noted that grassroots sports development is a strategic policy in the scheduled programmes and activities of the National Sports Commission. According to him, government would readily support any initiative geared towards the promotion of grassroots development because of the high premium it places on sport development.
"As a key player in the continent, we are luckily endowed with abundant talents which if properly harnessed can put us in the right pedestal amongst the comity of nations. With your assistance Nigeria can extend her frontiers and become a super-power in no time in the game of chess.
In his remarks earlier, Garry Kasparov noted that his presence in the country was to create awareness on the important role which chess can play in education as well as advocate for its introduction into the elementary school curriculum worldwide. He also called on private individuals and corporate bodies to support and collaborate with the government in the promotion of the growth of chess in the country.
"The playing of chess is not the exclusive right of the highly talented or intelligent children in our societies; rather, it is beneficial to all. The basic principles of chess are not as complex contrary to the erroneous beliefs of many. Even a child can learn to play given the right environment," he observed.
According to him, the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa has secured sponsors for the take - off of Chess in schools programmes in Nigeria; saying it is expected to expose over fifteen thousand Nigerian school children to the learning and practice of chess in schools over a period of four years in the first instance.
Another benefit which he mentioned is the sponsorship of its top players to international tournaments for them to get the necessary exposure which most of them presently lack. The Nigeria delegation was led by the President of the Federation, Olalekan Adeyemi.