It is often said that sport has an inherent ability to bring people together, in particular the youth, and yet until recently, the tremendous potential of sport to achieve youth development objectives has been little utilized. By its very nature, sport encourages participation bridging national, ethnic, social and religious divides. It is precisely for this reason that sport, when used as a tool for development, can serve as an impetus for social transformation and change!
For the likes of Ebiri Wofai, the gritty and rugged defensive stalwart of the UNICAL Malabites in the ongoing Higher Institutions Football League, this is a true truth. For avid followers of the Local Nigerian sporting scene, the phenomenal rise of Ebuka Odenigbo has been one of the shinning lights of an otherwise dour league season amidst the crises and his recent triumph in the Aiteo Cup was the icing on the scintillating cake.
Across the Collegiate Ecosystem, stories such as Donald Akpan Ibanga, who mesmerized fans in Uyo with his oral prowess while running commentary during the group stage games or even Edidiong Edet who has proven that leadership transcends age and gender, by being an active member of the 2000+ HiFL Volunteer Force scattered across all elsewhere of the country where she leads 20+ volunteers who ensure that the games run smoothly in her campus.
All of these youths share some common connections, they are young and vibrant, they are in the university system, they have also found fulfilment and satisfaction from the different passion points that football provides. Above all, they are all part of the Ecosystem of Nigeria’s and Africa’s collegiate football league, the Higher Institutions Football League. Launched in 2018, the league is organised by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing in partnership with the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA) and has left an indelible mark in the collegiate sporting scene in the country with athletes signing professional contracts and receiving scholarships from participating.
At the heart of this initiative is STANBIC IBTC, At the start of the 2019 edition of the Higher Institution Football League, the institution signed an impressive five-year deal with PACE Sports, organizers of the league, a sponsorship that kept the group as one of the competitions lead sponsors.
In the 2nd year of the Higher Institutions Football League season, over 2000 volunteers across Nigerian Universities, have worked to propagate the good image of the institution to their immediate student community and more than, 80 STANBIC staffs have presented Man of the Match awards to deserving players at the end of every match.
STANBIC IBTC’s sponsorship of the HiFL is one of the many engagements of the group that showed that it is committed to focusing on the youth and delivering on its strategic objectives as a digitalized customer-centric universal financial services organization.
Without a doubt the Institution is rising above its core financial services specialization to deliver its value commitment to meaningfully contributing to the development of the nation while uplifting the socio-economic living conditions of its citizenry through strategic focus and investment in initiatives under three key pillars of social, economic and environment.
HiFL may be Stanbic IBTC’s most far reaching youth-centric engagement, but it certainly isn’t the only initiative created by the institution to drive youth development. Other initiatives such as the Youth Leadership Series (YLS) help connect with the youths at a deeper level by promoting their entrepreneurship drive as well as the establishment of the Stanbic IBTC innovation lab in Yaba, Lagos, set up to support techpreneurs, financial technology and startups are among other initiatives designed by the institution to move the Nigerian youth forward.
Speaking on the why the institution threw its weight behind the Higher Institution Football League, partnership, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, Mr. Yinka Sanni, said that the sponsorship is in tandem with the company’s determination to help grow and develop a vibrant and productive youth population in Nigeria.
Sanni stated that “so far, we are impressed with the organisation of the HIFL. The 2018 edition set a standard that we are proud to be associated with. As a company, one of our objectives is to engage the youth through initiatives, which will contribute to talent-molding and character-building. We have committed in long term to this project because we sincerely believe in its course as aligned with ours” Sanni said.
In fulfilment of its commitment to moving Nigerian youth forward, STANBIC IBTC proudly sit at the center of youth engagement with the Higher Institutions Football League, a move that is driving exponential growth both in brand awareness and affinity for the institution, the partnership is also helping the brand build an increased customer base, stronger customer loyalty and top of mind awareness around and beyond the participating campuses.
Indeed, it has never been a better time to be a YOUTH in Nigeria with Stanbic IBTC Moving Them Forward!
CULLED FROM: THE BUSINESS DAY