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•••Oyo now tourists’ destination- Makinde

President Bola Tinubu, on Saturday, declared open the 14th Biennial Police Games tagged Oluyole 2024, stating that sport has remained the number one unifying factor in the country.

He added that the Nigeria Police Games has, over the years, been a great way of discovering talents and that he expected nothing less from the 14th edition.

Declaring the event open at the Lekan Salami Sport Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan, the Special Guest of Honour, President Tinubu, reminisced on how a police officer, Chioma Ajunwa won a gold medal for Nigeria at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

The president was represented by the governor of Oyo State, who was also the host of the event, ‘Seyi Makinde.

Speaking in his dual capacity, Makinde, who had earlier been commended by the Nigeria Police for deploying resources and logistics towards the success of the event, said it was only proper that the BIPOGA is held in Oyo State, the new destination for experiential tourism in the country.

He charged the participants from each zone and commands to put in their best, while he also called on residents of Oyo State to pay more attention to the sports and entertainment sectors so as to attract international communities to the state.

He said: “Let me, once again, welcome everyone to the 14th Biennial Games, Oluyole 2024. The 13th edition was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State but, today, it has moved to the South-West. Awalokan!

“It is fitting that Oyo State is hosting this edition in the first year of Omituntun 2.0. As you already know, we are projecting Oyo State as the place to come for experiential tourism. And what special way are we supposed to experience Oyo State, Nigeria, than through sports?

“Sports has been a uniting factor for us all. One of the most unifying moments we remember as a nation was the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games, where Nigeria won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

“One of Nigeria’s gold medals was won by Nigerian Policewoman, Chioma Ajunwa. Today, she still holds the record.
“So, this shows how important the games are. It is a great way to discover and project talents to the world. I don’t expect anything less from the athletes that are in front of me here.”

“As we seek sustainable ways of solving our economic issues, we must pay attention to, and properly package sports and entertainment sectors so that the international community can come to us to enjoy our home-grown tourism.

“I believe that games like these have the potential to boost our economy. These games also give us an opportunity to see another side of the friendly and competitive side of the Nigerian Police.

“So, on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I declare this event open.”

Earlier in his address, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokunm, stated that the 14th Biennial Police Games in Ibadan has the theme “Competing for Peace, Unity, Stability and Development of Nigeria.”

He added that the event is a unique sport competition to celebrate mental health, spirit of sportsmanship and unity in the country.

He lauded the Oyo State governor for providing the platform to showcase the ruch cultural heritage, vibrant economic potential and the state of the art sporting facilities in the state, saying: “I express my deepest gratitude to the governor of Oyo state for providing platform to showcase to the world the rich cultural heritage, vibrant economy potential and state of the art sporting facilities of the Pacesetter State.”

In his goodwill message, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, said sport is an avenue to foster unity.

He added that the Army and the Nigeria Police have continued to work tirelessly to sustain peace in the country.

The opening ceremony featured parades from the seventeen zones and the headquarters of the Nigeria Police, hoisting of the Games’ flag and cultural displays, among others.

The event had in attendance, the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Olanike Adeyemo; the Chief of Staff to the Governor and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of Oluyole 2024, Otunba Segun Ogunwuyi; and the Oyo State Head of Service, Mrs Olubunmi Oni (mni), among others.

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