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Abuja International Marathon confirm four elite runners

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Determined to achieve its objective of becoming the first race in Nigeria to have an elite men’s field that will return a sub 2:10 minutes, the Abuja International Marathon (AIM) has confirmed the signing of four gold labelled runners, two men and two women.

This was disclosed by Abuja International Marathon Race Director Olukayode Thomas who is also in charge of the race Media and Publicity.

Thomas told our correspondent on Wednesday that the Chief Executive Officer of Unicentral Resources Management Limited, the licensee of Abuja International Marathon, Zsuzsanna Ogunmiloyo, who is also the race Managing Director signed the contract with runners on behalf of Abuja International Marathon.

Thomas revealed that Andrew Bren Kimtai with a personal best of 2:08 32 tops the list. Kimtai has won many races around the world including the prestigious Wahun Marathon and Venice Marathon.

Gilbert Masai with a personal best of 2:09: 49 is another male runner that has signed to run in the Abuja International Marathon on December 17,

‘’ Our Managing Director Mrs. Ogunmiloyo is finalizing details with nine other men gold label runners. Once the details are finalized, their names will be released to the media. We have also signed agreements with two female runners, Caroline Jepchirchir with a personal best of 2:26 and Naomi Maiyo with a personal best of 2:30’’.

Thomas disclosed that the target is to get 21 gold label runners identified to sign contracts with Abuja International Marathon before the end of August.

‘’ Our race is scheduled for the last quarter of the year, a busy period for marathons and road races around the world. During the last quarter, we have London Marathon, New York Marathon, and Berlin Marathon toward the end of September and we are all looking for runners that will raise the profile of our race from the same World Athletics elite field. So it is important that we tie down runners that agreed to compete early’’.

Thomas disclosed that ‘’with the three pacers that we have contracted also gold label runners, our dream of being the first race to achieve a sub- 2: 10 minutes on Nigeria soil is achievable’’.

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Niger Delta Youth Council Facilitates with Nigerians on the Occasion of World Youth Day

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…reflects on the state of the nation

…calls for youth friendly policies

The Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC), a pressure group devoted to youth empowerment and development in the Niger Delta has facilitated with the federal government and Nigerian youths as the world marks International Youth Day, a day set aside to celebrate youths all over the world and reflect on the challenges they face and ways to surmount them.

In a press release made available to journalists in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Engr. Jator Abido, the group expressed optimism that this year’s World Youth Day will avail Nigerian youths and government and avenue to brainstorm and find lasting solutions bedeviling the Nigerian youth especially in the area of unemployment and perennial insecurity that has hindered economic activities in many parts of the country.

“Today is an important date sets aside to celebrate International Youth Day. The importance of this annual celebration according to the United Nation (UN) is to among other things raise voices against any injustice or discrimination and deprivation around the globe against the youth. We as a pressure group want to use this opportunity to call attention to the alarming rate of unemployment which has risen to 35% in the third quarter of 2022 as well as insecurity which has brought to a halt economic activities in most parts of the country. It is our hope that government will act fast to end insecurity and reverse the ugly trend of unemployment in the country”, the statement noted.

The lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the group noted has far reaching implications on the future of Nigerian youths and if nothing is done about it, will endanger the mental and social capacity of youth, predisposing them to social crimes and agents of destabilization in the forth coming general elections

“The implication of this unwarranted strike is that for the past six months and counting, Nigerian youths have been idling away at home and the federal government has not considered the damage such failures portend. Not just that future leaders of Nigeria are idle but an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Criminal elements within the ruling class will quickly recruit and turn them to agents of destruction and crime as the 2023 general elections draw near. This must not be allowed to happen. The federal government must act fast to reverse this ticking time bomb from exploding” the statement urged.

The CSO equally charged the federal government to come out with policies that will encourage the participation of Nigerian youths in the downstream oil sector especially by actively using local artisans in line with local content policy of the federal government insisting that Nigerian youths especially those in the Niger Delta region have what it takes to actively transform the oil sector and end the sad phenomenon of exporting crude and importing refined products which is almost crumbling the economy.

“We are once again calling on the federal government on this occasion of International Youth Day to as a matter of national importance formulate policies which will make the local content law a more practical reality. Our youths are well skilled in oil exploration and even refining. Granting licenses to local artisans and modifying their technology will end the uneconomical policy of importing refined petroleum products at exorbitant rates at the expense of the naira. Such steps will also put an end to youth restiveness in the country and stimulate economic growth”, the statement added.

On the need to inaugurate the Niger Delta Development Commission’s (NDDC) Board, the CSO noted, it is long overdue and the federal government must use this occasion of the International Youth Day to respond to the yearnings of youths in the Niger Delta who are the first beneficiaries and sufferers of both good and bad policy choices in the region, arguing that, NDDC can not continue to run without a substantive Board.

“Mr. President Sir, we are calling on you to use your good office and cause the inauguration of the NDDC Board which was duly constituted but has since not being inaugurated because of the activities of saboteurs. This is not only unconstitutional but a slap on the faces of law abiding Niger Deltans who are looking forward to development massive in the region. Without a Board, corruption is rife in the Commission and the people who are supposed to be served are suffering because of the greed of a few politicians. If nothing is done to bring an end to this impunity, we’ll have no choice but to take up arms and fight for our rights”, the statement concluded.

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