Where should we begin other than a few passage of rhetoric aimed at sports loving fans for not demanding changes to current structure interfering with their past times? A drunk will tell you that he acquires such ‘talent’ as a result of alienation (a), boredom (b), craziness (c), depression (d) and the rest of the alphabetised reasons. Unfortunately, a country cannot progress when majority of the citizens that drives the economy simply focused on resolving their so-called alphabetised reasons. Of concern in this writing is the fact that these individuals are removed from consideration as sports loving fans and what must be asked is how do sports’ administrators reverse this without engaging the intellectual wealth well-adjusted society members.
Several publications in the past few days disclosed that the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is (financially) broke but I find it difficult to comprehend how a legally non-existing entity can be determined financially ‘inept’. Yet, the country is in democracy where rule of law prevail but does that rule of law matters? I hope it does and if that’s the case, the National Assembly ought to demand every single penny spent on this non-existing entity returned to the federal government treasury or at the very list detail record of whom the money was spent for purpose of determining legitimacy of their rightful owners. I say this because it is not unusual for anyone to accept on behalf of others and in that sense, with power of attorney that illegal entity so-called staff (not the entity) can validly receive and held accountable by the National Assembly.
What can be said is that the National Sports Commission (NSC) has no obligation to account for illegal NFF spending because NFF has its own (line) budget directly under the National Assembly supervision as such, Nigerians at large should be asking questions through their representatives at the National Assembly. Now, if as suggested in the first paragraph that sports loving fans are not making any demand and others with ‘talent’ (of drinking) simply suffers from gymnastics of the minds then how possible can the country progress meaningfully in sports (or any other endeavor).
Further, NSC itself was reported broke as well in a publication by The Guardian Newspapers along with the Sports Minister announcement that National Stadiums will be privately operated soon. This writer is curious about these events because NSC was considered money transfer agents rather than a meaningful federal government Ministry by many individuals because at no time has that Ministry ever audited any fund it gave to the so-called sports’ federations which were never part of its mandate from whatever legislation that currently exists. Many reports exist suggesting in detail that NSC will simply turn blind eye to duplicate spending on same expenditure as well as bloated spending contrary to budget approved by National Assembly. Unfortunately, ‘whoever’ that runs the NSC ought not to be blamed rather the National Assembly for not supervising such spending.
From what can be observed, the Sports Minister office is a revolving one where Minister come and go compounding many problems upon many problems where the reality that must be noted is that those Ministers never really control their staffs or the budget rather are simply puppets. Of recent, is Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi inability to sanction any erring staffs that simply ignore his directive and spoke publicly of such to the media while the Minister remains mute?
Politics, godfatherism and culture of dependency must be removed from consideration on running of NSC while such entity should remain as sports policy and infrastructure agency rather than money bags for sports’ federations. Many individuals with advanced Business Administration degrees (PhDs, MBAs, etc.) do exist but the question is why are they ignored in consideration of leadership of Sports Ministry which is an autonomous arm of the federal government just as Finance Ministry? Continuation of what the country is doing while every agency is getting broke should have been a wakeup call long time ago before Olympics spending and many promises made to certain individuals.
Sports federations are agents of foreign entity that cannot be controlled by NSC and for that reason alone NSC must stop spending on them rather NSC must fund all legitimate entities that approach it with provable programs to enhance sports within the country. This is more so because many organizations currently exist doing just that while NSC continues to dash monies to sports federations’ bosses doing nothing.
Current occupant of NSC Chairmanship must audit all sports federations for every penny spent on them in the past four years with the aim of recovering illegal funding or fraud.
Until further notice NSC must stop spending and review list of all its employees. It was reported severally that NSC has many ghost and animal workers, whether true or not NSC itself as an entity must be audited by National Assembly.
Sports fans must be assured that these changes are implemented otherwise many individuals will start developing their own ‘talent’ (of drinking) where the end result will be burial of Nigeria’s sports. Well, maybe I should try to get drunk for the first time today maybe I too will discover my talent.
Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)