Don’t mind them, they are action on the field, they are enthralling messengers saddled with the cause to delight and animate the spectators, and bring honour to us (their state). They are but the symbolic hands of His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. Knowing that, that was the first time the team would attend the national tourney, one would wonder how these amazing handball players won and brought to their state the first position trophy in the 2020 Prudent Energy Handball Premier League!

They are Kwara Adorable Angels with charming hands wielding a wand of marvel to restore the lost glory of the state in the sports sector. Congratulations, Kwara Adorable Angels. As you congratulate these handball wizards, remember that their zeal and vigour that led them to the route of triumph are metaphorical of Governor AbdulRazaq’s true commitment and agility to good governance and the spirit of reformative mission.

Note that the Governor’s sense for mending, uplifting, sanitising and applying elixir to the overt and latent ache, hitherto, plaguing the health of the state is blanket: it is not only the sports sector that the revitilisation struggle embarked upon by AbdulRazaq-led governance has touched. It has practically left no stone unturned. The trait of sincerity of purpose and excellence has been the hallmark of the new administration since assumption of office, and this has drastically changed the rhythm of governance in the state. We are only observing here that for sports development in Kwara State, the game is no longer as usual, and that the recent victory of the Kwara Adorable Angels is only a tip of the iceberg in the catalogue of honours, splendours and strands of development that has added beautiful feathers to the ego cap of the state.

When we look back, we are on the threshold of history. The wonderful thing about history is that it avails us vast lessons to assess the past, mend the path for the future to roll safely and elegantly. With this, let us briefly take ourselves to a near past. The sports harvests of last year (2019) came to Kwarans and the sports enthusiasts like a heavy carcass of an elephant gripping and bedazzling the sight of a league of brave hunters. On one hand was the revitilisation and staging of the Kwara Civil Service Games, which thrilled the participants with the tonic of entertainment and sportsmanship among the civil servants in the state. Sequel to the foregoing was the regeneration of the defunct Kwara State Sports Festival. After suffering a long period of eclipse in the hands of the successive previous administrations, it came back in 2019 slipping to the year 2020 and code-named “KWAFEST2020”. Without mincing words, the event was a dazzling and an alluring movie to hunt for talents and groom young athletes, who would later be shown the road to stardom or raised to the international status.

After taking over from the previous government the mantle of power through the instrumentality of Otoge revolutionary tagline, AbdulRazaq-led administration advanced the slogan and came up with a modified catchphrase coined Ise ya (Work has begun or it is now time for work) to assure the masses of the genuine devotion of the administration to responsible and responsive governance. Well, this was a practical way of communicating to Kwarans that the agitation that brought about the birth of the new era meant (and means) prosperity for them. One is bound to be shocked by the dynamic nature of the Governor in terms of adherence to the tenets of “social contract” theory. In respect of this, Ise n lo (Work continues) sprouted as another response to sustain the masses’ audience and ambience to this administration. One major thing to note in all these mantras is that they are not only symbolic chants passing through the ear, they also correlate with the physical projects executed (seen and felt by the masses). It would have been otherwise if the tempo of the achievements clashes with the palpable structures available.

The functionality of these slogans is loud in sports development. Little wonder that the populace rejoices when the hitherto withered plants in the sports realm begin to bountifully fruit again. This is definitely a process of rebirth similar to the resuscitation procedure in Ngugi Wa Thiong’O’s A Grain of Wheat, though the Kwara’s example is never a gory scene. As if it is the dialect of sports that the Governor is endowed with, the story of the sector in the state today is a soothing tune from a loved nightingale. All the categories of athletes and the other practitioners of sports in Kwara have woken up from their slumber following the ignition mechanism of the Governor, who is not only a sports lover for his personal interest, but who is prompted by flair and nurtures the inclination to allow influence (political power) to dovetail with creation of opportunities for the young ones. By this, numerous advantages accrue, these include wealth opportunity, restraining turbulence that can arise from youthful exuberance especially at the extreme of unemployment, and health benefits.

As alarming and thrilling the story may seem, Kwara Adorable Angels, born about ten years ago, joined their counterparts from the other states in the 2020 Prudent Energy Handball Premier League for the first time. Having noticed their Mayor’s (Governor’s) devotion, the athletes took a cue from him, striking at the M. K. O. Abiola National Stadium Complex, Abuja. The performance of the Angels was a replication of Governor AbdulRazaq’s style of working wonder in the state. To boost the morale of the players, His Excellency made himself available at the venue of the games. Don’t ask me “why?” and “how?”. The gesture speaks volume about the Governor’s principle, seriousness and readiness to serve the state. His sight at the venue tremendously motivated the athletes. To the Adorable Angels, “This is a Governor that has passion for anything tailored towards the development of the state.” In other words, AbdulRazaq is full of action, pragmatic technicalities and invulnerable wisdom to express rigidity of developmental policy. Like a committed father, who believes his sight will invigorate his children at any battle, the Governor stirred the psyche of the handball players so that they combatted all the contests with determination, passion and trust/belief in themselves.

Similarly, the appearance of the Honourable Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mrs. Joana Nnazua Kolo, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Barrister (Mrs.) Iyabo Funke Banire, at the venue of the games inspired the team more and more. With all these physical incentives, the young girls from kwara cleared the games and came out in flying colour. Just like that, our Adorable Angels brought home the No 1 position trophy and some other twelve laurels in the handball game. The magic behind this success was the zeal instigated by the Governor and his lieutenants.

Some days after the victory, His Excellency hosted the Adorable Angels at the Government House. The visit was to present the trophy and the other prizes to the Governor and to air their aspirations, challenges and requests, and rob mind with the Governor on the way forward. Congratulating the young female athletes, the Governor admitted that they thoroughly impressed sports enthusiasts and the nation with their stellar performance. He then recounted how the state had dominated some sporting genres like squash and other games in the past, ascribing the decline in the state’s zeal and excellence in sports to unavailability of facilities. He, however, noted that if Kwara sports players have access to modern facilities and if the existing facilities are upgraded, ample hopes abound that the state will be taking the lead position in the sports industry. AbdulRazaq sensitised and charged Kwarans on the need to go into sports commercialisation, emphasising that it is high time the state commercialised sports to ignite and drive in economic boost. He added that the triumph was a product of the tripod of trials, faith and commitment, imploring the young girls to continue with their sheer patriotism for their state.

Earlier, the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt, Honourable Yakubu Danladi, attributed the victory to the texture of progressive policies and developmental initiatives, which, he said, emblematise Governor AbdulRazaq’s nostrum in tackling state’s matters. The words of the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mrs. Joana Nnazua Kolo, distinguished this administration from its predecessors. According to her, the trophy won by Adorable Angels marks for the state an era of development, victory and positive transformation.

The happy news is that the wonderful young female handball athletes had made the entire people of the state proud with their recent palm, the charming hands that worked out the feat are the spirit of Governor AbdulRazaq. What their excellent performance emblematises, to be point-blank, is how the Governor turns things around in the state.

Dr. Sangodare Ayinla,
Press Secretary,
Ministry of Sports and Youth Development

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