ALIMOSHO is the most populous Local Government Area in Lagos State, boasting over 3 million inhabitants with about 70% of that population falling within the youth category. Hence, the region is already blessed with one of the biggest natural resources available- a large youthful community.
Unfortunately, Alimosho hasn't quite made the most of this resource over the years.
There is still a lot of unemployed youth in the Alimosho area, while the general standard of living across the six LCDAs is still pretty low. More has to be done to get the best out of this massive youth base.
One of the best ways to maximise the potential of the youth population is by strengthening the LGA's sports development system. Like in most parts of Nigeria, the people of Alimosho are sports-loving people.
They actively participate in sports in a variety of ways, whether by playing football on the streets, watching their favourite teams, arguing with their friends, or even engaging in sports betting.
Sports betting, in particular, have skyrocketed in the region over the last decade, with Alimosho youth now having a long list of betting sites to choose from.
The average Alimosho youngster is naturally drawn to sports, especially football, and would relish the chance to emulate global icons like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Of course, very few people would eventually get to the level of these superstars, but the chance to be part of an organised and sustainable development setting will go a long way in giving these youngsters a sense of identity and purpose. This also has the potential of keeping young people off the streets and reducing the possibility of them getting into social vices.
We already have a few sports development initiatives in the LGA, but more needs to be done.
In 2021, Alimosho Local Council, in partnership with Greater Future Academy unveiled a sports development program in Egbeda geared towards getting more youngsters into sports and giving them a platform to develop their skills.
There has also been the case of Alimosho Football Club, which has, so far, done an excellent job of bringing together young boys and girls in the LGA and creating an opportunity for them to fulfil their dreams.
Such is the great work done by Alimosho FC that the club got featured on the official website of football's world governing body, FIFA.
Unsurprisingly, the people of Alimosho have adopted the football club as their own, with many going to watch the team whenever they are in action. This is just a small indication of the effect a structured setting can have on society.
Perhaps the greatest quality of the club is that it gives youngsters the opportunity to combine their education with sports. There is arguably no better combination for a young person in Alimosho, as it opens up multiple avenues for a future career path.
While the Alimosho FC example is fantastic, there is still enough room for many more such initiatives. The government has to take a central role in establishing a sporting system that allows the talented youth in the region to thrive.
Rather than paying lip service and embarking on haphazard plans, there has to be a more deliberate and meticulous effort by the government and other stakeholders at absorbing as much Alimosho youth into a strong sporting system.