A crying monkey cannot be taken to lack basic common sense without more. Human with average intelligence will try to ascertain what bothers the crying monkey. Okay, we are not monkeys but as this writing progress the issue will become clearer. Mr. President felt ashamed at the Nigeria’s team outing at London Olympics Games which happened to match Nigeria’s worst record of 1952 Helsinki Olympics Games. For those that are arithmetic challenged, that is exactly 60 years ago and many of us including the President were simply unborn then.
The Presidency, National Assembly and international sports’ organizations shouted and raised concern on decline of sports in Nigeria, as measured in comparison with war ravaged countries like Afghanistan winning medal at London. Independent news organisations in Nigeria pointed fingers at sports administrators in general fearful of Bolaji Abdullahi the Minister, but online reporters time and time again pointed all fingers at the Minister. The strongest and direct challenge to direction of sports in Nigeria came from Mr. Jide Fashiku an ex-international handball star who is the editor of a newspaper outfit and Barrister Moses Orode Oyiki, also a former ex-international in athletics on his Nigeria Athletics Incorporate forum. This writer also, added his own contribution and together we have all made sports issue frontline discussion among highly placed individuals educated or not.
The False Promises
Prior to the Olympics, Solomon Ogba and his cronies advised the Presidency that Nigeria in athletics alone will win four medals. In fact, Nesiama who took over technical direction of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) from late Sunday Bada shouted about guarantees that our athletes will win medals in multitude. This individual and Ogba never competed in their life in any sport so it’s understandable that they can guarantee that the ‘moon’ will become the ‘sun’ anytime.
But what was so outrageous, concern some journalists embedded with the team paid by NSC to tell lies to Nigerian people that our athletes will impress where majority of these so-called journalists follow sports religiously (that is a statement of fact) and this writer was at pains not to be able to comprehend how such statement of guarantee printed in various mainstream dailies can be published without a single opposite view. Yes, mainstream media sometimes choose to ignore realities but I doubt if Olympics should have been a propaganda tools for the NSC to waste its annual budget of N22Million for promotion that this writer keeps scratching his head in disgust.
Not all was bad however; upon the team return to Nigeria the Presidency made a whole lot of promises to readdress sports governance and its transformation agenda. In fact, Mr. President gave direction and order to Bolaji Abdullahi to restructure sports in Nigeria. This writer, Mr. Fashiku, Barrister Oyiki and few others noted that to restructure requires removal of that entire group that caused decline in sports followed by credible appointment of qualified individuals regardless of political affiliations and culture of entitlement. Bolaji Abdullahi promised (but lied) that he only wanted the incumbent federations’ boards to run out their term and he would let them go for new fresh ideas.
Mainstream media editors and the same people that brought mediocrity to Nigeria sports gathered themselves at Abuja to parley with the President in a show of ego among them. They shouted, networked about whatever they went there to do which was not advancing sports in Nigeria and they left without any agenda and goal but a promise that sports will never be the same. That no one can disagree because the status of sports even went down significantly where Nigeria that use to boast of Emedolu at 18, Deji Aliu at 17, Durotoye at 17 and others ran 10.3seconds in 100meters in the Junior category now can rely on a boy running 10.6seconds at African Youth. The Minister said he was hopeful, Ogba that claimed to be AFN boss was jubilating and real athletes (former or current) say absolutely depressing when Japan has a junior boy running 10.01 and US has about 7 running faster than 10.36 this year alone.
In a show of shame Bolaji Abdullahi shouted about reforms with new rules on federations’ election and that NSC will no longer have candidates or determine candidates to so-called election. Unfortunately, this individual simple lacked any skill in ethics or administration but then again, he never acknowledged any qualification in business administration or accounting degree, as such, he simply made things up as controlled by his cronies.
Bolaji Abdullahi returned every idiot (they know themselves) that brought mediocrity to Nigeria sports to continue their destructive paths. Athletes were never part of the process of the election to begin with and he imposed board members, he imposed NSC staffs to be board members for example, Gloria Obajimi, Yakmut, Kayode Thomas, etc. An election without participation of the electorate is scam, sham, scandalous and shameful in any democracy.
Funny comments on facebook was that if Solomon Ogba spent his money (as he claimed) on athletes and after two rounds of voting that he would not have begged and cry for votes that returned him along with earlier allegations that he sponsored those that voted for him to travel to Golden league athletics competition in Doha, Qatar and Abuja for the election with full knowledge of the Minister. The knowledge of Bolaji Abdullahi on this allegation should have meant investigation before accepting the result but he wouldn’t hear it.
Recently, however Mr. President appointed a former member of House of Representative under PDP caucus to be Director-General of NSC, this appears to be a welcoming development because the individual was claimed to hold a Certified Management Accountant designation which is clearly a better candidate than Bolaji Abdullahi or Patrick Ekeji in that post because as it turns out NSC Act of 2006 did in fact required that the function be accounting and finance where under him, there is also a technical director office, which this writer said time and time again should have been Patrick Ekeji posts according to NSC Act 2006. As good as this news appear to be, the problem remained that NSC collected over N2Billion for grass root sports and the money disappeared in thin air and Bolaji Abdullahi does not believe he has a duty to query Ojo-Oba and others who previously held the post of grass root sports department. This current year that money has yet delivered any developed athlete, although we heard about Yakmut suggesting Plateau states grass root taekwondo. And I ask how about Lagos, Anambra, Oyo, Akwa Ibom and other states?
Bolaji Abdullahi also published statement that he met the PDP Chairman Mr. Tukur, where he informed the Chairman that he resolved the perennial football loggerheads. That was a deliberate lie as NFF was declared null and void while another football organization is the only football association recognized by Nigeria Judiciary and the Solicitor General of Nigeria. To lie at this level, this writer says it’s time for Dictator Abdullahi to go. In fact many lawsuits are brewing right now, Handball federation is in court, and athletics federation will like follow as well as many others as a result of the so-called election where no single athlete voted.
Is all these NSC actions not insulting to the President who promised a revamp of sports industry?
What’s the country needs
The Presidency must remove Bolaji Abdullahi from his cabinet with immediate effect, because all goals or intention of the new NSC Director General of NSC will be quashed by cronies of the minister.
The President must appoint six commissioners to oversee NSC because NSC is by definition a COMMISSION and what is a Chairman of a Commission without real commission members? This is the most horror in any governance because this is absolutely dictatorship previously maintained by late Abacha by imposing late Shola Rhodes as Sole Administrator of NSC.
The new Commissioners can now set the sports agenda of the nation. Their first task is to do away with funding any federation rather funding should be to the athletes directly or community agencies advancing sports, e.g. football academy, etc.
The President must seek to recover over N5Billion wasted on duplicate funding to AFN, NFF and other federations immediately. Those individuals have assets that can be recovered while some of them kept prepaid credit cards like Capital One to launder money illegal obtained abroad.
Nigerians will be happy, if Mr. President acts now, failure of which the country can simply forget about any athlete qualification to 2016 Rio Olympics.
Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)