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Gbajabiamila lights 26th NUGA torch amidst fanfare

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The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Saturday performed the lighting of the 2022 Nigeria Universities Games (NUGA) torch at the Sports Centre, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, amidst fanfare.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the kick off of the 26th NUGA was marked by a colourful opening ceremony at the Sports village of the hosts.

The opening ceremony also witnessed the march past by the participating universities while the students of the UNILAG Staff School also performed some calisthenics and dance session.

Other dignitaries aside Gbajabiamila included the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, while Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State was represented by Sola Aiyepeku.

Also present on the occasion were the Managing Director of GTco, Segun Agbaje, Pro-Chancellor, UNILAG, Dr Olanrewaju Tejuoso, Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto and the Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

In his welcome address, Gbajabiamila described sports as a veritable tool for unification among different ethnic background and religion.

“We have here men and women who are ready to showcase their talents as I did in some years past, when I was a student in UNILAG.

“About 78 universities and more than 10,000 athletes and officials are gathered here because sports is a universal language understood by many across lines.

“In days to come, we will be seeing talents evolving and there is no doubts in my mind about the university that will come tops, my only worry is about the university that will be in the second place.

“Sure, we know that `Lagos no dey carry last’. Furthermore, I have seen sports as a means of development and unity, that brings everyone together,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor, Ogundipe, noted that as hosts, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) had put all necessary things in place to ensure a successful games.

“Today, we stand in the threshold of history to commence the 26th NUGA and the fourth of its kind to be hosted by UNILAG.

“We are here today because UNILAG believes in the mission of NUGA to provide a fertile ground for the emergence of well-rounded graduates, who are equipped for solid service to the nation, the continent and the world at large.

“That is why we spared no efforts in preparing for this day working diligently and round the clock via our LOC, we went all-out to mobilise human, financial and material resources to ensure a remarkable event,” he said.

Ogundipe added “Our sporting facilities have been upgraded to a world class standard such that our young athletes will have a platform to showcase their talents unhindered.

“Arrangements have been made to ensure that all participants at the games are comfortable and to make their experiences positively unforgettable one,” he said.

The President of NUGA, Prof. Hamafyelto, remarked that the 2022 NUGA would be the biggest university sports competition in recent times.

“I have no doubts that the experience we will gather here will remain long in our memories as you will agree with me that Lagos, being the sixth largest city in the world in terms of population, is known for its youth vitality in sports business.

“Lagos, to many of the participants, is a destination for tourism, business and education,” he said.

The Pro-Chancellor, Dr Tejuoso, enjoined the participants to take advantage of the sports fiesta to develop themselves mentally.

Also, the Minister, Sunday Dare, in his goodwill message, encouraged the youths to enjoy the various games at the all-university competition.

The events for the 2022 NUGA are football, athletics, badminton, hockey, cricket, chess, judo, swimming, karate, squash, handball, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, basketball and boxing.

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