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Indian envoy hosts Nigerian chess team, pledges to strengthen people-to-people ties

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian has pledged to strengthen the Peoples-to-Peoples relations between the two countries, saying it is the basis for ensuring stronger ties.

Balasubramanian said this on Monday in Abuja when he hosted the Nigerian team that participated in the 44th World Chess Olympiad 2022 in Chennai, India.

The envoy said the game of Chess, as well as other sports have the appeal and potency to connect young people, foster unity, and strengthen bonds between citizens.

“Relationship between any two countries is basically between people. If people-to people contact is very strong then obviously the relationship will further grow stronger and better.

“This Chess Olympia is one such event in which not so young people, much younger people will come together in the spirit of sportsmanship and play for their country, and they will express their intellect, they will express their sporting Prowess.

“It will certainly have a great impact on the people-to-people relations. India and Nigeria already have excellent connections in terms of people to people contact.

“We have more than 60,000 Indians who have made Nigeria their home, who are mostly into manufacturing and so on.

“There are thousands of students from Nigeria that have been to India. As the President also mentioned, the medical facilities in India are very good and they are very happy to exchange those facilities to our Nigerian friends also.

“So all these actually puts together brings in closer relationship between India and Nigeria through the people which is one of the fundamental reasons of what exists,” Balasubramanian said.

Mr Sani Mohammed, President, Nigeria Chess Federation said that the attributes of the game of chess if put into real life activities will further build the country.

Mohammed said that India’s growth can be seen from how the country was able to build its nations from such attributes; patience and endurance, calculative ability.

Chess is Life to us. we are concerned about the attributes of chess, patience and endurance, calculative ability and so on. We have seen that in India.

“The background both in the Physical sciences in India is what everybody should aspire to attain.

They use a lot of chess attributes to build upon their country.

“No wonder Chess originated from there. Time management, organisation and all that. So these are some of the takeaways that we will have from India.

“Then the spirit of friendliness, warmth which was extended to us, I think it was unprecedented,” Mohammed said.

According to Mohammed, it is on that premise that Nigeria and Chess Federation is using the game of chess as a means of changing the lives of many Nigerians, especially the underprivileged.

“There is a lot to learn, especially in our pet project, Chess in school, we have another social investment programmes, we went to Makoko, the slum areas, we brought out children with some unique needs.

“The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has awarded them scholarships and some goodies to the family.

“We sent our team to Oshodi under bridge which was infamous for some social miscreants. But incidentally, they all embraced Chess and they are playing Chess.

“I can assure you in Nigeria that the real grassroot is our aim and then apart from that, we want every household to start thinking Chess.

“It will work on their emotions, it will stabilise their emotions, intellect, and intelligent process. We say thank you to India,” Mohammed said. (NAN)

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