To begin, this writer put it to you that NSC actions, inactions and omissions turns athletes and federations to beggars, bums and leeches. The athletes and their supporters’ hopes include drastic eradication of these practices. The readers can keep their comments coming it makes a lively debate.
A good friend who is a senior editor at a Nigerian newspaper outfit suggested that past regimes of sports’ (administrations) failed to host competitions causing athletes to be furious at them, therefore, in his view the current regime hosting of competitions were in the right direction and he respected those in charge to the point of endorsing them and writing articles praising them but he denied being on their payroll as propagandist. On surface, he might be right but an intellectual mind would likely ask for a comparative analysis before jumping to conclusion and that is the aim of this article.
Before going further, this writer will say to his humble friend, that the athletes without competition actual gained economically from saved costs to attend those competitions because sports federations never sponsored (unless super elite), in terms of cost of registration, transports, accommodations, lost earnings and emotional gymnastics that comes with any competitions. In practical terms attending such meaningless competitions provides no economic value to the athletes in contrast with officials who collected registration fees, athletes affiliations’ fees, hotel fees, allowance for lost earnings, sponsors fees, NSC funding in excess of N5billion annually. I will let the reader judge whether athletes gained any benefit. This writer view is absolutely NO.
NSC claimed it has mandate to deal with federations and in fact has a director for sports federations and I ask, what do Nigerians see and wish to say about this particular issue raised? The answer is either NSC is unaware or has knowledge of these affaires to which this writer considered double barrel ineptitudes. For NSC to show leadership, athletes must be funded directly not through any federation that keeps the funding to themselves, their cronies and their families.
Factory of Beggars, Bums and Leeches
In the past few months we heard about the death of Nigeria’s former stars and quite often government officials, though in mourning mode always seems to enjoy celebrating them with limitless spending while other former stars are bedridden and injury prone as disclosed by Segun Odegbami recently. In Nigerian culture, that’s just the norm and this writer is not advocating against such practices or any culture for that matter but Nigerians ought to be clear on, what culture is and what it is not. This writer does not believe that our culture allows abandonment of anyone whether or not they are athletes until their grave site. We’ve heard of NSC waging wars against Bash Alli and Jerry Okorodudu recently and these were former stars from Nigeria’s most successful Olympics sports
Athletes compete (or competed) primarily for the love of the sports and accolades that comes with such events. Such accolade includes monetary compensation, fame and lots of open doors because of such career. Those that excel to elite level were paid very well from NSC and many sponsors as long as they continue their high performance feat. This mode of bragging right enjoyed by those few athletes are temporary however, but some of the athletes lacked adequate education and work experience outside their athletic career matching such prowess. As such, after calling it quit in sport, some of these athletes will now want sports authorities to grant them preferential treatment either in jobs, sports federation boards or anything substantial that can maintain their worthiness as an athlete. This is the so-called culture of entitlement that this writer noted earlier as not a real ‘culture’ but a circumstance of superiority for an inferior qualification.
This writer view is simple, NSC created this artificial standard of living for those athletes (estacode, choice houses and many accolades such as those recently announced and executed by President Jonathan). What the Federal Government could have done is to establish lifetime pension based on such funds distributed to the athletes after AFCON or Youth competitions. These monies would not have been spent unwisely as it is been done now rendering those athletes later in life to become beggars, bums and leeches of others.
Sports federations are apex of beggars bums and leeches because their relevance depended on: (1) NSC funds (2) Funds directed at athletes (3) funds directed to hosts athletes at the request of private sponsors and (4) Athletes cannot exercise their rights under Nigeria’s constitution of free speech and association rendering sports federations a communist agenda. Now, this writer ask, how is it possible for sports federations’ that supposed to developed athletes comes to fully depended on funds set aside for athletes.
NSC is a communist agency and all its’ actions are never democratic. How possible can NSC called a charade of returning those beggars, bums and leeches running their (NSC) federations. Yes, this is not federations as demanded by international bodies. Democracy should be seen, embedded and guidance to all actions of NSC. Athletes are the electorates and removing them from eligible voters list at the so-called federations’ election rendered such affaires undemocratic and a politburo. Again, this writer invites opposing view and sees how such view sounds.
Recently, Mr. Elegbeleye was appointed as Director-General of NSC and several destructors of sports took to the air to congratulate the man in what colloquially can be referred to as kissing up for future considerations. I see no one ever congratulated Amos Adamu and Patrick Ekeji when they were appointed or in office. But the fact remained that he claimed to be a management accountant and that profession demand professional ethics which cannot be contravened because a simple justified complaint is all it takes to throw someone out of such profession, of course there wasn’t any public disclosure of his activities after out of National Assembly in which, I’ve heard may have derailed any professional independent accolades being showered on him.
Nevertheless, this writer gives him favourable benefit of a doubt while been cautious until evaluation his actions. Incidentally, he noted that he intends to probe London Olympics outing which is a good beginning but anything short of how monies were spent will be tantamount to a charade and Nigerians including athletes will definitely react.
STATE OF EMERGENCY ON SPORTS
This writer encourages all lovers of sports in Nigeria to demand that the His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan declare a state of emergency in Nigeria sports because 2016 Olympics will be a lost cause until drastic changes now beginning with removal of all apparatus of woeful London outing starting from Bolaji Abdullahi, Ojo-Oba, all federations imposed leaders.
Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)