Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, is now Patron of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club.
Adams was honoured on Thursday with the prestigious title, when members of the club visited his Omole home on a courtesy visit.
Speaking, Aare Adams expressed appreciation to the management of the Nigeria Supporters Club for counting him worthy for the prestigious title, saying the honour was timely, coming barely a month into the celebration of his first installation anniversary.
He said his passion for sports development began at a young age, spanning over three decades,pointing out that his nomination would build unity in the country and boost sport tourism across the country and beyond.
Adams, however, charged the Federal government to embrace grassroots sports in order to reduce crime rates in the country.
“I have been monitoring the activities of the Nigeria Supporters Club since 1982. In those days, I had wished to be part of the club because of my interest in sports development. It is football that showcases Nigeria to the world and it create an attraction. It boost sport tourism in countries like Brazil and Argentina. The content of encouragement is the zeal of the supporters club. I respect your efforts as a big association.I have been contributing my little quota to the promotion of sports.I founded Gani Adams Foundation (GAF) in 2003, to promote sports, especially, football at the lower cadre. I also sponsor under 13 football tournaments annually in Lagos. On this note, I appreciate the patriotism of all the members.They project Nigeria positively to the world. I am a regular traveler and I know for a fact that traveling is educating. Members are exposed when they travel across the globe and traveling is part of education.”,he said.
Adams, described his predecessor, the late Basorun MKO Abiola as a philanthropy, and pillar of sports in Africa whose passion and love for sports knew no bounds. He promised to support the association, using his connections and influence at every given time.
Meanwhile, President General of the club, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo, said the choice of Aare Gani Adams for the title came after a thorough consultations with all the stakeholders of the football supporters club, saying the position of the Grand Patron of the association is specially reserved for Nigeria’s serving president.
“You are, no doubt, a sports loving personality, and an embodiment of what Nigeria culture is all about. We appoint you as the national Patron of Nigeria football Supporters club not because of your age but because God has placed you in a position that is worthy of all honours.To complement our efforts, we will be inviting you to our secretariat at your convenient time to meet with our people, discuss with them and chart a new course.
Dr. Ladipo,regretted that government has failed in its efforts to support the club, saying the association gets its funding from corporate organizations, individuals and a few states. “We foot all our bills privately. All over the world, a national association like the Nigeria supporters club get funded by the government and they perform creditably well.”
National Chairman of the club, Reverend Samuel Ikpea, said he is confident that the group will achieve its objectives with the emergence of Aare Adams as the national Patron of the Nigeria supporters club, saying the position of a national Patron is not political or tribal, but for the lovers of sports.