By Rashid Balogun
While true stakeholders rejoice on recent pronouncements of NSC new direction as a great welcomed development; in respect of withdrawal of interference-machinations within federations, some minority skeptics maintained that those federations’ leaders may still act in their personal selfish interests.
Well, Nigeria is not a country where its’ illegal to have selfish thoughts and individuals ought to be judged based on their actions and until then Nigerians ought to give NSC benefit of a doubt. However, its’ everyone civic duty to state the obvious pitfalls that ought to be avoided in the near future whether or not there is consensus among the stakeholders. As such the process of appointing Board members of any federation must invite close scrutiny. NSC has within its mandate to require any federation to meet certain rules of accountability and transparency in order to receive fund from the federal government. As such this note provide a guide to such pre-conditions.
1. Zonal (or current system) Board members elections or determination. This must stop, it has become highest bidder built-in corruption agenda. Qualified individuals without some State backing were simply ignored
2. Lack of term limits. Some individuals relied on Board membership as their birthright and remained there for decades (for example, Sanni Ndannusa in Tennis federation where tennis nose-dived in past 20 years). Even Nigerian President is limited to two terms
3. Lack of police clearance and assets declaration. Individuals become multi-millionaires simply for being Board members while acquiring choicest assets all around the country
4. Lack of verification of degrees held by Board members (if they had a degree)
5. Lack of definition of stakeholder. No state or federal government (or sponsored agency of any government) appointee can meet such definition.
Many suggestions were advanced but the consensus seems to be as follows:
a. Stakeholders must be defined by NSC to include only: the athletes (and their representatives), Coaches (and their representatives), club/team owners (for at least 3 years and athletes’ sponsors.
b. Stakeholders can among themselves appoint Board members either at large or among themselves (modalities of such processes must be defined by NSC)
c. NSC must list academic qualifications and other background requirements for a Board member (and verify those credentials)
d. NSC must demand bank details and police clearances of any ( or potential) Board member and all Board members must be bonded
e. NSC must maintain database of all potential Board members and perform detail investigation on each of them (i.e. academic, professional, financial, etc.)
f. NSC must declare that individuals with unspent criminal records, sexual molestation charges and fraud charges are not eligible to be a Board member
g. NSC must declare that there must be (life) two-term limits of three years each. And also that past Board members are not eligible for at least 10years.
This note simply identify pitfalls in current system of determining Board members of all federations and if the country decides to revamped the entire system of sports governance then federations’ Boards must be the first to be changed.
Yes, mistakes will be made along the way but the current system simply serves no purpose and its stone-age agenda enriching few individuals rather than developing Nigerian athletes.