By Rashid Balogun
Because Nigeria’s chances in Rio Olympics is quickly slipping away, this note focuses on various federations’ (legitimate) stakeholders by that, I don’t think State Governors or Sports Associations (if controlled by States Sports Commissioners) are stakeholders and if NSC continues to emulate UK then government and its arms must be removed from any federation leadership completely.
Nigeria should not expect to do well in RIO Olympics Games because the NSC and various federations are acting as if that game purpose is simply a money making scheme. Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi continues to shout about money every opportunity he has but never at one time accounted to Nigerians what happened to over N10billion NSC received in the past year. As well he never responded to queries that he earned over $900 in allowance per night in London for doing nothing and the accounting for N2.3billion for the Olympics. I doubt if, the country can afford more money for sports because it appears that over 75% of sports budget was used for everything but the athletes ($900 allowance spent on Minister per night translates to at least 9 athletes’ allowances).
I may agree with recent events within Football federation, specifically, leadership changes (I ask why throw-out few) but I favour emphasis on development as the new way forward. If we get rid of the people that brought us mediocrity then the incoming regime will at least be hinted that performance is priority number one, failure of which invites immediate sack letter.
The Minister (following his predecessor) announced revamped NASCOM and Nigerians never knew of the entity he is restructuring, so, I say, that NASCOM is a waste of money.
There is no need for it (based on its term of reference) because School Sports Federation exists for that purpose already. Duplication of responsibility will lead to chaos and where is the time for school children to prepare for School Sports, Youths festival, National Sports festival and States championships in the same year? I think the Minister needs to snap out of this useless agenda or photo-op because Nigerians aren’t buying any of it.
All federations Board members must be eased out immediately and cannot be returned and all it takes is for the Minister to set criteria for funding by NSC which is within its legal mandate, instead of wasting funds on dealing with National Institute for Sports (NIS) additional responsibilities.
The Minister, can require: (1) Board members term limit (only in sports that Nigeria don’t have term limit where people think it’s their birth right to control others) within that federation article of association (yes all federations must be a registered legal entity); (2) Prior year’s performance standard; (3) External Audit reports and (4) Technical Coaches must hold at a minimum Master degree in Coaching or Sports sciences.
Intimidation and Threats
Everyone will agree that been former athlete does not guarantee coaching skills, one look no further than the country results following NSC intrusion and imposition of Innocent Egbunike on Athletics federation (AFN). In fact I was amazed when Solomon Ogba (AFN President) threatened (carried out that threat) Pat Itanyi (former National record holder) that she will never coach in Nigeria again simply because she sided with some athletes on their welfare concerns.
In other to justify this behaviour Solomon Ogba required this Coach to prove she is a coach and she did with her Master of Science degree in Coaching earned in 2003 but Mr. Ogba still refused to back down. The stakeholders (legitimately and illegitimately) and Mr. Ekeji knew this and the next thing he announced was that Innocent Egbunike and Yussuf Alli (never produced a single athlete) were Nigeria’s Coaches to the Olympics.
70% of Nigeria’s team to London was linked to Pat Itanyi and in fact none of them wanted to have anything to do with those Coaches imposed by Mr. Ogba. Even Blessing Okagbare publicly noted that she would not have anything to do with Mr. Egbunike.
Those London Olympics Coaches that did not produce any metal and Solomon Ogba remained intact to drive AFN to abyss and Mr. Abdullahi is okay with that. Well, I say athletics’ stakeholders must wake up just as the Football stakeholders to show Mr. Ogba the road out never to return.
Again, sports stakeholders wake up. The National Assembly please forget about Rio 2016 Olympics because nothing is been done to do well.