National Sports Confusion (NSC) – By Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)

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My thinking cap is firmly on and the temptation of a punching bag right in my face overcame my intellectual resistance and passive aggression.

His Excellency, President Jonathan hosted “sports retreat” at the State House where he noted that the purpose was not to trade blame or point fingers but to brainstorm on how to return Nigeria to its past sports glory.

For one thing our past glory or specifically, 1996 maybe great for the country at that time (except for the cloud surrounding Chioma Ajunwa’s Gold, Mary Onyali Bronze and relay because of many drug sanctions against both of them later including life-ban), but for now that may not be good enough with multi -billion Naira invested. Although it can be argued that gangs in most sports federations pocketed the money.

Punching bags

His Excellency, in his speech launched a salvo at all levels of governance, from his mandate to the local government as responsible for the decay in sports. That is, pointing finger on old and current administration.

Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi, Sports Minister blamed oversized administrative staff of NSC, unqualified coaches and prayers (poke fun on Egbunike’s strategy) rather than training as sources of decay in sports. That is pointing finger.

Mr. Abdullahi also said he needed the President to reduce NSC staff because 92% of them were administrative staff. Essentially an admission of micro-management by the Presidency suggesting Mr. Bolaji is a mere puppet rather than substantive Minister.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi (leader of Governor’s forum) blamed corruption, unqualified coaches and absent early childhood emphasis. That is pointing finger.

Mr. Gaiya (Sports Committee Chairman at House of Representative) blamed the Presidency for not bringing forward NSC/NFF Bill. This is also pointing finger.

My thoughts

Clearly, hope is not a strategy (borrowed from Mitt Romney, US Presidential candidate) as such an actual plan and implementation of such plan should have been the outcome of that gathering at the State House.

The Agenda

Although, His Excellency noted brainstorming as the focus of the retreat but to heed towards such aim, there should have been an agenda prior to the gatherings demanding invitees to bring along their views in particular area. It did turnout majority of those invitees were open or closet politicians of a political party along with few foreigners.

Those foreigners spoke on what worked for them in transformation while urging Nigeria to emulate them but quite frankly, that will be impossible because our country never reached the standard to which those countries reformed. I say that because even in our system of governance we should have chosen US styled democracy in its infancy not democracy in its later years when all systems are already in place.

Invitations should have been extended to credible parties’ in particular areas such as policy / procedure, facilities management, technical (particular sport), athletes’ management, physiotherapists, accounting / budgeting, etc. Those individuals should have been required to prepare and ready to submit there thoughts among their peers (others invited) and discuss its’ merits.

Ideally, invitees should have been grouped into their particular areas of expertise and asked to strategize (MBA style business strategy session, i.e. if you ever attended Postgraduate Business school) and come out with a draft decision. Those decisions from various groups now become a framework on how to move forward.

That framework gets to be quantified in Naira by the accounting / budgeting group and after all is said to be done, then all levels of government get a standard draft for review on there level of involvement. For example, costs of athletes under 17yrs (other than elites) fall within State / local government obligations in terms of educational rights (any sports is education) while the federal government maintain responsibility for adults including elites.

Furthermore, the era of entitlement for football or budget line item for it must be stopped immediately because it breeds and continue to breed corruption on high scale and certain individuals believed control of football is their birth right.


Some of those grouped as implementation / execution team must now be empowered to determine when, how and measurement of the framework result.

Of course the lead up to implementation is a freeze on any spending (including withdrawal of any NSF paid secretary-general in all federation) whether or not NSC has such obligation because no federation can force NSC to do anything.

Let me rest here (educated folks get the idea)

Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)




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