By Debo Akinbami
..as 2021 Ondo Summer Tennis Clinic ends
The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, has said the First Lady of Ondo State, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, always habour good thoughts about Ondo State.
Aiyedatiwa said this, Saturday, at the closing ceremony of Ondo 2021 Summer Tennis Clinic, the 4th edition, held
at Akure Recreational Club Tennis Court, Oke-Eda, Akure, Ondo State Capital.
He said: “I will not be mincing words. For me, I can say, without any doubt, that your thoughts towards the people of Ondo State is of good at all times. That is why you have done so many programmes that are so impactful in the last four and half years that you have been directing the affairs of women in the state.
“Think of The Foundation for Wives of Ondo State Officials, (FOWOSO), Bemore Empowered Initiative, and the Summer Tennis Clinic. Even her own foundation, the Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria that has been on for over twenty-five years. They are all working on making life better for the people, particularly the women.”
Speaking on the importance of the Summer Tennis Clinic, the Deputy Governor said Tennis is lucrative and that it is a very big business, saying, “Let me commend the initiator and founder of this programme, Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, for this laudable initiative.
“What the First Lady is doing is to harness the talents of our young ones and exposed them to the world of Tennis. Tennis sport is so lucrative just like any other type of sport. Infact, sports generally, has become a big business.”
Hon Aiyedatiwa, who said Tennis is a continuous engagement, encouraged the parents to continue to help the children to hone their skills even after the summer clinic, saying: “If they are to develop to the extent of playing at the international level, they need serious training. After now, endeavour to take them out for more training.
Despite the fact that Tennis is a big business, you find out that Nigeria has not been playing at that global space as it should, but I know that with this effort more stars will emerge to represent Nigeria at the international level.”
Earlier, wife of the Governor and Founder of Ondo State Summer Tennis Clinic, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, said she is so happy that the little mustard seed she sowed has grown and now has branches.
In her words: “I am so, so delighted that, this year, I did not really make much inputs. I only came for the inauguration and that was all, until yesterday when the certificates were brought to me to append my signature. I just crossed my legs and things were done the way they should be done.
“That is why I am so happy that the little mustard seed sowed has grown and now has branches, so it follows that at the end of Arakunrin’s tenure as governor of Ondo State, this Summer Tennis will continue.This particlar edition has shown me that Ondo State Summer Tennis tennis clinic has come to stay.”
While thanking the Chairman of the closing ceremony, Elder Teni Faromoju, for the support he has been giving the Tennis Clinic over the years, Mrs Akeredolu said
the planning committee did exceptionally well.
“It is one thing to have a vision, another thing is for the vision to become a reality, and vision might come from an individual actually but it cannot translate to reality if you don’t have people around that bought into that vision. So, one cannot do it alone. It is a team work. It is a team spirit. So I appreciate the team. I am so proud of you.” The First Lady said.
She reiterated the need for parents to support the programme, saying: “I don’t want to start sermonizing again about how parents should help us, I said it at the opening ceremony. Maybe for emphasis, please parents, support these your children. Support them to take the skills to another level. We have our staff agents here that will keep up with the ones that are willing to discipline themselves to hone their skills. They will now graduate to Arabinrin Junior Tennis Club and from there we begin to groom them for tournaments within Nigeria and maybe very soon internationally.”
The annual State Summer Tennis clinic has birthed young tennis club, called Arabinrin Junior Tennis Club, which serves as an avenue to groom children with potentials who were discovered through the summer clinic, some of who are now representing the state in national tournaments.
Chairman of the closing ceremony, Elder Teni Faromoju, who said this is the first time he was physically participating in the summer tennis clinic, lauded the First Lady for her initiatives.
Faromoju said “It is exciting to see all the great things that the First Lady has been doing in this state. I have followed her activities keenly, and I can say that it takes an exceptional person in leadership position to do all the things that she is doing. From the cancer awareness programmes to the girl child education, and in particular her efforts on gender parity.”
Part of the highlights of the event include a Tennis Exhibition match between the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, and the First Lady of Ondo State and initiator of Ondo State Summer Tennis Clinic, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu.
Present at the event are Deputy Governor, Hon Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, his wife, represented by Major Morenike Alaka, Chairman, Ondo State House Committee on Youth and Sports, Hon Gbenga Omole, Director of Ondo State Football Agency, Mr. Akin Akinbobola, members of the planning committee of the 2021 Summer Tennis Clinic among other top government officials.