Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has emphasised the importance of technology to sports and in helping athletes to evolve their performance in preparations and tournaments.
He said this while declaring the 9th Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) Sports Festival open at Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, on Tuesday.
Pantami said the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under his watch will continue to emphasise the importance and dominance of technology in “our day-to-day life.”
The minister, who was represented by the Chairman, NiPOST Governing Board, Barr. Maimuna Yaya Abubakar, said the wellness of an organisation depends on the well-being of its employees, adding that employers must offer ambience, which always brings the best out of the workforce.
“The importance of sports in any organisation cannot be overemphasised. In the words of Nelson Mandela of South Africa: “Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to Inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”
“Those words resonate loudly in the minds of members of NIPOST Sports and Social Club and this has served as an inspiration for organising this festival.
“Distinguished guests, sportsmen and and women, ladies and gentlemen, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under my watch will continue to emphasise the importance and dominance of technology in our day-to-day life
“This is where our youth play significant role. The use of technology is unlikely to decline, but will instead increase, even in the rural areas as government has embarked upon massive investment in the areas of public digital infrastructure. For these investments to be fully effective, digital literacy skills would further be strengthened with continual education to keep pace with rapidly changing global technologies.
“Technology in sports plays an essential role in helping athletes from different sports to evolve their performance in preparations and tournaments. Monitoring the progress of matches has also become easier and more efficient using smart devices.
“The ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar shows how technology is playing an increasingly important role in sports. The Washington Post describes it as a World Cup that is wired and fueled by Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, according to FIFA, the new semi-automated offside uses 12 dedicated roof-mounted tracking camerasto track the ball, and also tracks up to 29 data points on each individual player (at a rate of 50 times per second), calculating their precise position on the pitch
“Providing hygienic infrastructure, wellness privileges, and uniform growth prospects should be their responsibility. To achieve the perfect work-life balance, organisations must always promote a fit lifestyle. And one of the ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle is by encouraging participation in sporting activities.
“Sports has a number of advantages; it provides a fantastic variety of individual activities, instills discipline, fosters unity and encourages socialisation,” he said
The minister commended the board and management of NIPOST for putting the event together and urged the athletes to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.
“When you are competing with others in a game, it is not guaranteed that you will be victorious. Just like you, the others who will compete will also hate losing. So, understand that you must put your best foot forward, but do not expect the results to be favourable all the time. You must be humble enough to accept the outcome you deserve and look forward to improving from your learnings,” he said.
Speaking, the Postmaster General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST, Hon Sunday Adepoju, said sports foster unity irrespective of religion, political affiliation or tribe.
He noted that people become one when they get inside the sports arena and forget every other thing.
“We have demonstrated that in the past, we are still doing it and we promise that it will continue. This is a message for Nigerians that irrespective of your political affiliation, religion or ethnic colouration, we want the best for Nigeria. NIPOST is demonstrating it, you will see that everybody here are one. Nobody is saying I am from the North, I am from the South. If we can do it in the field of sports, nothing stops us from doing it socially and politically. When we do that, Nigeria will move. We have the advantage, population is an advantage if we know how to use it well.
“We have both human and material resources which we are demonstrating here. We are demonstrating to the whole world that Nigeria can be united.We are teaching the political class and the electorate the lesson that we are one irrespective of what happens on election day or after the result has been announced,” the Postmaster General said.
He explained that NIPOST is using the sport festival as an avenue to discover potentials and keep workers fit and healthy
Adepoju added that his vision for NIPOST is to make the agency a cynosure of all eyes, and urged Nigerians to patronise the agency, saying “aside from having lower price when compared with the other private companies, their goods are safe.”
In his welcome address, national president, NIPOST Sports and Social Club, Mallam Abubakar Danlami Usman, said over 1000 athletes will be competing for honours in various sporting events such as athletics, badminton, egg race, football, lawn tennis, table tennis, postmen race, tug of war and volleyball.
“NIPOST Sports and Social Club is not only about sports but also an avenue for socialisation and interaction among staff bearing in mind that sport is a unifying factor. This festival will also foster unity among management and staff, the board, the ministry and other relevant stakeholders associated with the advancement of NIPOST. We are therefore encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to fraternise and make new friends and visit beautiful sights in the ancient city of Ibadan, ‘the Pacesetter State.’ At the end of the festival, we should have been re-energised, refreshed and poised for greater productivity and optimum performance at the workplace.
“As for the games, there should be no mercenaries as the penalty for utilising mercenaries is an outright ban of the branch from this and the next festival. In addition, the offending branch will pay a fine of N150,000 for each mercenary identified. May I remind the contingents that talents discovered during this festival (Ibadan 2022) will represent NIPOST in the next Federation of Public Service Games (FEPSGA). I urge you all to be at the top of your game so as to make the list,” Usman said.
He said the highlight of the event will be the novelty football match between NIPOST top management captained by the Postmaster General/CEO versus the State Postal Manager’s team.
NIPOST Sports Festival is a biennial event organised by NIPOST Sports and Social Club. It is an event where talented sports men and women of the agency assemble to compete for honours in various sporting events.