The Organisation for Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) has decorated the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, as patron for its upcoming Sahel Military Games billed to hold in Nigeria with the sole aim of bringing countries under the region together in healthy competition to foster peace.
Speaking during the ceremony in Abuja, OSMA board president, Brig. Gen. Maikano Abdullahi, said the minister, who emerged from a unanimous vote as the patron of the organization would take up the responsibility of helping the organization achieve a successful games festival.
“The board of directors voted Nigeria as the host and unanimously voted the minister as our patron. The countries that will be involved in the games include Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun, Libya and Benin Republic. But we have other friends within the country that we will involve like Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Congo Kinshasa and they are going to support us,” he said.
In his response, Onu lauded the initiative of the games describing it as an important and creative vision that would foster unity through healthy competition in Africa, adding it would help the military understand each other and promote bonding between member-states.
“The Sahel sports is so important, very important not just to Nigeria, the Sahel region of Africa but for the whole continent because what you are doing is very creative and visionary as you want to use sports to integrate the military in the Sahel region where we have so much turbulence, crisis, problems of insecurity and I believe that we can use this sports to integrate the military, they will understand themselves and get to know that nations can’t separate us because we are Africans and we must work together to make sure that we stamp out all aspects of insecurity in our nations.
“It is very important that you know that what you are thinking about is of great interest not just to the military but to all of us. We have 17 agencies within the ministry. All our agencies are interested in making sure that we help project our nation, and ensure that our military will continue to grow in self-reliance,” he added.
In his welcome remarks, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, congratulated Onu for being considered a patron for OSMA, saying the investiture was timely and commendable for his service to Nigeria and African continent at large and would continue to enhance special relationship between the ministry and the military in Africa as well as promote research and development products, goods and services to all and sundry hence encouraging the interest of investors in R&D results.