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ECOWAS pushes for national federations of public service games
PIC. 5. IMG_0081Experts from countries across the West African region have begun the process of facilitating the formation of national federations of public service games.The idea of establishing National Federations for the West African Public Service Games (WAPSGA) is pursuant to the need to sharpen the ECOWAS regional integration focus on sports development.

At the start of a two-day regional consultation meeting which held at the ECOWAS Commission, Abuja on the 6th of August 2015, participants extolled the virtues of the physical wellbeing of citizens of West Africa as something critical for the attainment of the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The meeting is organized by the ECOWAS Commission for the purpose of mobilizing and acquainting member states with the rules, regulations and modalities of the West African Public Service Games to facilitate the establishment of WAPSGA among others.

Addressing participants, facilitators and resource persons, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender Dr. Fatimata Dia Sow said that the Abuja meeting is a calculated step to fashion out a proactive direction for the WAPSGA.

Dr. Sow who was represented by the ECOWAS Director for Gender, Sports, Drugs and Youth Development Dr. Sintiki Ugbe noted further that “nothing can kill an Idea whose time has come”. According to her, the birth of WAPSGA which had been in the drawing board for upward of eight years is a trail blazing effort by ECOWAS that can serve as a source of inspiration to other regional economic communities on the continent.

Making further disclosures, she said “Since ECOWAS committed itself to the organization of the West African Public Service Games, concrete landmarks have been posted to give it a solid footing. Key documents on the games for example rules and regulations, schedule of responsibilities and technical specifications for the games have been drafted and adopted. To ensure that documents measure up to standard, regional workshops and seminars have been organized and experts from member states, stakeholders and technical partners have considered and made inputs to ensure that the West African Public Service Games confirms with the standard required for any international sporting event”

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The Country Director of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) who was represented by the programme officer for the regional office Uchenna Udoji stressed that the United Nations agency was very delighted to be part of the WAPSGA noting that findings are increasingly linking inactivity to the risks of death.

Making reference to the October 16th 2014. UN Resolution in the context of post 2015 development agenda, she maintained that nation states should give priority attention to sports and physical activities in the lives of their citizens.

“It is a well-known fact higher risks of death are being tied to inactivity. Physical exercises are even capable of bringing cultures together. With the activities that the games would bring about, human capital can be developed” She added.

Speaking in the same vein, the Director of the ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre EYSDC, Mr Francis Chuks Njoaguani maintained that more than ever before, expectations are now high, for the citizens of West Africa to begin reaping the benefits sustained and organized sporting programmes, enhance productivity, longevity while enhancing ultimately, the region’s Gross

WAPSGA is being given renewed focus which equates sports development to a sport recreation event targeting public services in the region. Giving a background of the meeting the Head of Division, Youth, Sports and Employment in the Department of Social Affairs and Gender Kennedy Zaro Barsisa recalled that since 2007 when work began on WAPSGA appreciable progress had been made.

WAPSGA is a transmutation of the Public Service games of Nigeria and other countries in the region that promotes sporting relationships among public servants of the region.

It is born out of a resolve contained in the ECOWAS Revised Treaty and Vision 2020 which is to evolve innovative community based initiatives that are close to the people while adopting veritable people oriented programmes which takes ECOWAS initiatives and activities to the door steps of the citizens.

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