As the world’s sports media converge in Europe’s capital Brussels, the continental section of the 94-year old International Sports Press Association (AIPS) will switch on its recognition glare on the multiple award winner, Nyesom Wike.
The Governor of Rivers State of Nigeria, Wike, will not only receive the highly coveted AIPS AFRICA Power of Sports Award but will also present a landmark paper on Peace and Progress through Sports in The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Wike’s presentation comes up in the morning of May 9th, a day after the opening of the 81st AIPS congress, the largest congregation of professional sports journalists.
Honor for Wike will be the first of its kind by AIPS Africa since it took on a new coat from the Africa Sports Journalists Union (ASJU).
The former ASJU in 1980 installed Bashorun M.K.O Abiola as the First Pillar of Sports in Africa. No other personality has since been given such continental honor.
According to the president of the continental body, Mitchell Obi the Rivers State helmsman whose government recently sponsored the African Wrestling Championship, is being recognized for consistently raising the bar of sports matters and effectively using sports as a veritable vehicle for fast track communal growth along the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)as well as engaging a booming but restive youth populace in his state and country. “It is indeed a badge of honor, freely and independently considered and granted and we think strongly that this would serve as an apt catalyst to His Excellency as he continuously strives to put sports on the front burner of his developmental strides,” Obi remarked.
At the global level, only four personalities have been honored by AIPS, the last being the immediate past president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge of Belgium.
Indeed the Power of Sports Award derives its inspiration from the great Nelson Mandela whose school of thought holds that sports has the power to change the world.
For Wike whose delegation is expected in Brussels Tuesday the award stands out from his bulging collection and perhaps reflects the passionate sports nuance of his apt nickname “Mr Projects”.