The senator representing Imo North in the Ninth Senate, Sir Frank Ibezim, has explained why he threw his weight behind a bill introduced by a member of the opposition party.
Sen. Obinna Ogba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Ebonyi Central, had sponsored a bill seeking to establish Federal Sports University of Nigeria in Nkalagu, Ebonyi State.
The bill has already scaled second reading and, after due consideration, was referred to the Committee on Sports by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, for further discussion.
Ogba had, while presenting the bill, said the proposed university would be a speciallised institution where youths could develop their sports endeavours and develop their skills in an academical environment.
The lawmaker further said it would lead to the award of diploma, first degree, Post-Graduate research and higher degrees with emphasis on planning, adaptive, technical, maintenance, development and productive skills in engineering, and allied professional disciplines relating to sports resources.
Moreover, he noted that the institution would, among others, establish appropriate relationships with other national institutions involved in training, research and development of technologies in the sports sector as well as identify the problems and needs of sports in Nigeria with a view to finding solutions to them.
Surprisingly, Sen. Ibezim, who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) supported the bill despite its sponsor by the opposition.
According to Sen. Ibezim, the proposed university would encourage the development of all aspects of sports and help in addressing the problems of youth restiveness and promoting peace and unity in the country.
Speaking on why he supported the opposition party’s motion, Sen. Ibezim told The Nigerian Xpress that though the Senate comprised members from different political parties, their goal and focus is the same, which is the overall good of the country.
“We are all in the senate to serve Nigeria and Nigerians. We do not allow political divide to interfere in whatever we consider good for the country.
“You will agree with me that sports is one sector that melts all our diversities. Nigerians do not know tribe, tongue or religion when the national flag is hoisted among the comity of nations during international sports fiesta, even locally.
“Yes, the bill was sponsored by the opposition but we are not in the senate just top oppose one another.
“I supported this bill because I believe it is the need of the hour, especially in view of the security challenges bedeviling the society. We can use sports to heal the land,” the senator, who only recently took his seat in the senate after a hard fought legal battle, said.