A Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Kosofe 1 constituency, Hon. Sanni Okanlawon has organized the second edition of the Okla Table Tennis Academy with a resolve to build economic capacity amidst the youths in his constituency.
Okanlawon made the disclosure at the grand finale of the competition held in Mende Town Hall,Kosofe Lagos on Saturday.
He stressed that the competition is basically to develop talents from cradle to stardom, as well as to boost their economic base through the large sums of cash prizes splashed on eventual winners which will be good enough for them as business seed capitals to start off small scale enterprise.
“It has always being football all the time whereas there are other sports; indoor and outdoor sports that you can explore for the benefit of our people especially the young ones.
” So that is why I have chosen table tennis,that I have passion for and to develop it in my constituency. To make it a vocation capable of delivering economic prosperity to our people,it is a kind of economic empowerment for our people especially the young ones.
“The idea is to rechannel the energies of our youths into something meaningful and productive,nowadays nobody is providing that enabling environment our youths are out there engaging in criminalities,violence and all what not.
“Today we distributed a lot of cash prizes ranging from 200,000,150,000,100,000 naira to winners,in the cadet class 50,000,30000,20000 naira respectively it is a lot of money.
“With 200000 naira one can start up a small micro enterprise or a pretty business with it,so that is the idea to empower economically and by the time we shall be holding the third phase of this tournament, this is the second phase in the series, I personally will put in more money.
“So that the winner will go home with 500,000 naira,the first runner up will go home with 300,000 naira, the second runner up will go home with 200,000 naira and I also seek the support and collaboration of well meaning individuals,good spirited individuals,corporate organisations to support us so that together we can get there
The lawmaker who doubles as the Chairman House Committee on Education, also used the event to rally support for more involvement of well meaning individuals into sports development,citing it as a veritable tool to rid the society off social menaces and vices.
“So that is why somebody must trigger action on everything that will bring peaceful coexistence amongst the people, every thing that will engender economic prosperity and the responsibility and onus rest on people like us occupying public offices and any other good spirited person or even corporate organisations.
” The CSR is there to explore, year in,year out there is allocation by corporate Organisations for CSR. So we must tap into all of these to create that enabling environment for our youths to get engaged,get empowered,have a vocation that they can explore for their economic upliftment and sustainability.
” Table Tennis is also a game that can develop ones mental and physical alertness. As a growing adult,I am 56 years old on March 28th exercise had really kept me going, we need to exercise often so that we can keep fit and healthy.
” For those whose aim is to keep fit and healthy we are here for them to come here and exercise themselves. Now what I’m doing is we have created an Academy called Okla Table Tennis Academy to develop our youths from cradle to become world class champions.
“We have started even the Ministry of Youths and Social Developments are collaborating with us,so we are expecting other well meaning personalities from Kosofe constituency 1 from all over Lagos and Nigeria to key into this, support us so that we can blow beyond our imagination.
“You don’t just occupy public office without adding value,it is about value addition so that as being my watchword as a person wherever I find myself I must add value having been voted for to represent my people Kosofe I,that I believe I’m doing very well by facilitating developments. My constituency is like a construction site,go anywhere in this constituency you see one project or the other ongoing,in terms of lawmaking I cannot be said to have taken a back sit.
“I am doing my best in that realm. The alternative power source, I train my constituents introduced some of them to the Lagos State Employment Trust fund, they were trained in the act and science of production,installation and marketing of alternative source of power.
“I have sunk as much as five boreholes in this constituency and I am still doing more,we about moving into Emmanuel Primary School to deliver a computer laboratory, I have already sunk a borehole in that school for the benefits of the pupils and the teachers.
“While tracking records and performance I see that young ones are multiplying by the day. In the Academy now we have up to 60 young lads and they are developing that innate talents in them, one of them won the first runner up in this competition.
” The talent is latent somebody must bring it out and that is exactly what I am doing and our aim as the tag goes is from cradle to world class champion and I believe it is doable and we’ll get there.” Said Okanlawon.
The lawmaker also gave two brand new table tennis boards to the overall cadet grade winner who carted away gold plated trophies from ward C and that of the senior cadre from ward D to further aid the grooming of talents in the various wards.
Also present at the epoch making event were Members representing Epe 1 and Epe 2 constituencies, Hon. Tobun Abiodun, Hon. Sylvester Ogunkelu and Hon. Nureni Akinsanya Mushin 2 respectively,flanked by many stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kosofe constituency 1.
The Chairman Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Okla Table Tennis competition Mr. Olanrewaju Oladunjoye charged youths to latch on the opportunity afforded to develop their intricate vocation which could also bring them economic advancements.
Oladunjoye who is the supervisor for Education in Kosofe Local Government, reiterated the plans of the initiator to further bolster sporting activities especially the table tennis in their locality and all over Lagos.
“It is an academy focused on tennis for now, a sport we see as a veritable tool in empowering youths in our area, it is a stepping stone to a greater heights we had two categories; cadets and the adults.
“We are going to have three categories come next edition,we started off thinking if we major on the professionals it will be like a disadvantage to the upcoming athletes, so we had to separate the pros from the semi pros.
“What we did is we’ve been able to give them notice on our upcoming competition,we are yet to fix a date but plans are ongoing for it and we believe it will get better as we go.” Said Oladunjoye.
He however, charged youths to build up their intricate passion,stating the fact that they must be determined to make the most of their God given talents.