Nigeria needs to resuscitate Abdullahi’s structures, says analyst



Stakeholders in Nigerian sports have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a minister that would be ready to develop all aspects of the sector by returning to the foundation built by former National Sports Commission Chairman, Bolaji Abdullahi.

They also urged the president to tinker with the country’s sports governance structure to ensure that ministers built on existing programmes instead of discarding what they met on ground on assumption of office.

Speaking on the type of minister Nigeria needs, sports lawyer, Sabinus Ikewuaku, described the penchant for every incoming minister to discard “everything his predecessor put in place as the bane of Nigerian sports,” adding that the sports ministry’s cabinet is full of brilliant documents, which could have changed Nigerian sports for good.

He said, “When Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi was made the sports minister, he invited some of the best brains in the sector to dialogue for a developmental programme for the sector.

“Under him, we had the presidential sports retreat, where the former President Goodluck Jonathan and other top government officials came together with sports technocrats to craft a well-articulated growth path for the country’s sports. Some of the results of the summit are the Nigeria Academicals Sports Committee, the National Youths Festival and the High Performance Centre, among others.

“He also ensured that peace returned to Nigerian football when he brought all the warring parties together and we saw the result of such proactive measures. Unfortunately, his successor discarded all that to the extent that our sports returned to the trenches.

“I am happy that the new NSC director general is talking of resuscitating the NASCOM and other programmes. That is how it should be.”

To former table tennis star, Ralph Elebute, the country’s sports would be better served if the next minister would look at all the documents gathering dust at the NSC secretariat and see those that would help the country “return to the big time.”

According to Elebute, “Nigeria needs the national policy on sports now more than ever before and the new minister just needs to check what those before him ha d done to know what to do.

“Bolaji Abdullahi had an agreement with the former government on funding for sports outside the national budget and I think whoever becomes the minister must key into that to end the perpetual cry of inadequate funding for the sector.”

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