Sometimes it makes a whole lot of sense to shut up and observe, hoping that the observed get to evaluate himself by his own doing but when such action affects others and yourself, it will be very tragic to trade blames afterwards or something like that. Yes, these are the words as spoken by a friend during chat earlier today following my trips across Europe. This follows conversation on the Bolaji Abdullahi trip to UK trying to convince British children to come and compete in Nigeria, with actual hope UK government or those kids parents would allow talented kids to do just that. Well, a dream is a dream according to my friend (first name Donovan, not the one you are thinking of).
And he went as far as suggesting social “no-no” in Nigeria that those kids will bring which will be a criminal act in Nigeria and how they can cope with threats, harassment, sexual demands, bribes to be on the team and other corrupt practices. I said to him, how are we so sure that the parents of those kids are not the same Nigerians blamed for causing many countries to give the country all sorts of unprintable names.
These people are human being first so they may deserve rehabilitation but the question that ought to be asked is how we repair the country’s negative image. I think to do that does not involve bribing them with free airline tickets to come to Nigeria because the Minister wants to ship monies meant for all athletes overseas where there is no accountability.
Enough of that lets now switch gears to preparation the country is making towards 2016 Olympics other than extacode escapade abroad trying to acquire foreigners and rip where the country did not plant such seed. And the reports are not helpful in a material respect to wit I suggest a return to drawing board and abandoned any foolish efforts as going on now rather the country can now focus on rehabilitating the educational structure that naturally has the mandate to develop athletes, whether by training potential coaches, trainers, exercise experts, etc. or tutoring sports administrator.
The buck begins and ends at the Ministry of Education not NSC because as it turns out NSC really mimics other cognizant Ministries lacking any expertise in none as even the Sports Minister acknowledged. The question now becomes why we are deceiving ourselves by doling out billions to those people working there. This is a sad tale of overt corruption endorsed by the country by that I meant what are we doing ourselves to correct these wrongs. Is it because some opposition members were dashed federations’ chairmanships? I am truly baffled because the so-called politicians shouted bloody murder every single day since the President took office but yet no one cares about the plight of athletes and that worries many of us.
We heard of Super Eagles refusal to Board aircraft until the issue of bonus was resolved and I say that’s the signal what will soon be happening every day in all sports. Sometimes prevention is better than cure and if the seating government failed to resolve this matter before it blossomed into unmanageable parameter, the country should just abandon Rio Olympics completely. The problems of threats to athletes, sexual assaults, short-changing their allowances, corruption and bribery to become board members will most definitely manifest into a full blown agitation that the Minister will continue to call the Police and the army for security even though those security agencies are stressed as it is. Again, I ask, do we want to stress our security agencies every time Bolaji Abdullahi is having some function?
What must happen to mitigate imminent collapse of Sports in Nigeria?
Ideally, it is in the country best interest to prevent problems before they become the problem and the way things are going, the country has always acted in reaction and that is not helpful and are too costly.
The federal government must begin immediate efforts to recover all over N2.5Billion budgeted for grass root sports development in the past four years as no single athlete obtain any benefit from it. Those funds can at least re-address past and future potential concerns. The athletes are owed these monies and no one can deny that most athletes have had enough.
Brainwashed athletes are now speaking publicly and loudly to the extent that this writer truly understands where such anger is coming from. Resolving these serious issues can never be solved by enslaving foreign born athletes which will be the result of Bolaji Abdullahi escapade.
A great country like the UK and US nurtured, catered and trained these athletes not for the benefit of NSC rather for the future of those kids and their birthplace. In the end, I find it difficult to understand how Bolaji Abdullahi thinks and what planet he comes from based on such view because I don’t think those countries would voluntarily allow their wards to venture to Nigeria at moment’s notice on the whim of NSC’s fire brigade approach to competitions. And being school age, I want to hear of some UK schools that will allow those kids to abandon school because NSC ill-advised thoughts. UK is not Nigeria where a Minister can just act as he wished and bribe his way out of a big mess. Again, what planet this Minister’s advisers come from?
NSC simply serves no purpose based on its recent actions and I ask what kind of commission we really have without any commissioner, even the Minister was never named NSC Commissioner rather appointed as a Chairman of NSC. Legally, he was never appointed a Commissioner. I say NSC is in sole administration, which is a key element to dictatorship. Therefore, the Sports Minister is a dictator and must be stopped.
Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)
Only in Nigeria that non-educator and unqualified people wants to teach knowledge they don’t have. Lord have mercy on us all