Alas! A roaring lion can be tamed, maimed and intimidated by simple tiny metal the same way fish and birds can be dwarfed. To get this introduction metaphor requires a sense of high intelligence Nigerians are known for worldwide. This writer believes his readers are above that minimum sensibility. The National Sports Commission (NSC) can bear witness to the dismantling of our sports agenda by the so-called former mole within President Jonathan cabinet as revealed recently that the former sports dictator (Minister) Bolaji Abdullahi never meant well for the country rather he intended to ruin the country’s sport image and indeed the evidence from the Commonwealth Games prove he did.
Dangerous Sports Politics, National Security Breached
This writer identified a series of atrocious actions unbecoming of a sports Minister including creating problems and then establishing useless panels to solve the problems at greater cost as well as dismantling the anti-doping regime and infrastructures in favour of money wasting schemes alleged as kickback and money laundry shenanigans. Furthermore, there were accounts of odd-bedfellow between the former dictator and Solomon Ogba, the individual imposed to chair the Athletics Federation (AFN). Funny enough, those bedfellows’ activities were blown wide open when Nigeria’s sovereignty and passports became as easy to obtain as a common bus ticket at the Washington DC Nigerian Embassy.
The question Mr. President Jonathan ought to be asking is, if Solomon Ogba and his co-conspirators can arrange the country’s passports for those who were never Nigerians in accordance with the Nigeria citizenship law, then who else are these people arranging passports for? This writer would like to think Boko Haram members were not in the mix, but how can the country be sure? Is this national security lapse? Should this disregard for Nigeria’s law be scrutinized? Of course, yes. National Security Adviser (NSA) must step in with arrest of those individuals involve. In addition, State Security Service (SSS) must investigate these people. Furthermore, it was alleged that some of those people claimed they were born in Calabar but no one asked them to present corroborating evidence like American passports that confirms such place of birth.
When the media alleged Bolaji Abdullahi as the mole in President Jonathan’s cabinet few days ago, then what do the same media calls his friend Solomon Ogba doing exactly what both of them decided? Yes, Bolaji Abdullahi in recent days claimed that his former boss is clueless and if that is the case, it appears that he was really a mole out there to destroy the nation’s chances. In that respect, Solomon Ogba who is also a member of President Jonathan’s political party ought to be vetted by that party for his allegiance to the mole.
Commonwealth Games (Post Mortem)
As expected, the country’s so-called lesser sports with few individual entries made the country very proud, wrestling, weight- lifting and table tennis. Yes, Blessing Okagbare did her part. This writer was perturbed in the past when Bolaji Abdullahi favored football and athletics in all discussions and returned all those involved in the declining state of those sports as Presidents of those federations but that observation is now proven to be genuine. Imagine, Sani Ndanusa still holds on as Chairman of (Lawn) Tennis federation amounting to over 30 years as leader of such sport where Nigeria had been absent even in Africa competitions as a qualifier and to even rub salt on injury, this man heads Nigeria’s Olympics Committee (NOC) and no Minister after himself the Minister at one has point ever deems it fit to force him to resign? Is Nigeria, a country of intellectuals on various subject matter as acclaimed internationally or we are just bunch of fraudsters in claiming intellectualism? This writer believes the earlier, but intellectuals supposed to correct incompetency whenever it arises, but is the country doing that? Clearly, failure to do something about this constitutes aiding and abetting such incompetency and that likely means a majority of Nigerians are fraudsters. Harsh, this writer presumes but that’s just the truth.
On Athletics, a lot had been said above about use of illegal aliens’ as mercenaries to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but unfortunately, those mercenaries take the Nigeria’s male relay team backwards to the country’s time even before independence about 50years ago. Imagine this fact, 1978 CMS grammar school, Lagos, St. Gregory’s College, Lagos, Edo College, Benin, St Finbarrs College, Lagos teams and over 200 American secondary schools would have defeated Team Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games 4x100metres men recorded time of 40.17seconds. Of course, these athletes will be paid and Soloo Management Inc. allegedly own by Solomon Ogba will get 15% of whatever those mercenaries get from Nigeria government. Is this shameful? Is the country’s citizens and the President doing anything about this? It’s not clear yet, but the new Minister Danaboy (Mr. Danagogo) has yet to say anything as compared to his resolve after the World Cup of Football and that bothers a lot of people. This writer will say again, failure of Danaboy to do anything or the country’s citizens not protesting justify to call them aide and abettors. The country’s media as usual, had been silent but it’s understandable when the game was on so they are now expected to cry bloody wolf soon, well this writer hope so.
It is the same Solomon Ogba and Bolaji Abdullahi that brought the country useless and ineffective coaches also refer to as “3 musketeers” (Eric Campbell, Angie Taylor and Maurice Green) to rubbish the country’s elite athletics structure. The country’s Olympics team performed better considering Jamaica was represented by that country’s third team members and US or majority of European world champions weren’t present and the question for Danaboy to ask is, what benefit Nigeria derived from these people brought in to destroy the country’s team and the only anti-doping centre? The reversal of this invasion by aliens in the country’s sports brought upon by Bolaji Abdullahi and Solomon Ogba must be the first agenda of Mr. Danagogo within days while NSA deal with arrests of those that aided and abetted issuing of Nigeria’s passport to ineligible individuals.
Talk about hundreds of millions of Naira Bolaji Abdullahi claimed to that he doled out to Solomon Ogba of AFN to prosecute Commonwealth games, whereas athletes were warehoused in slave camps both in Nigeria and far away USA. Lesser sports got no such funding, but they saved the country image somewhat during the Commonwealth games with several medalists whereas athletics contingent that were almost 100 individuals simply became spectators. Mr. Ogba plan ‘B’ was the use of mercenaries because those camped were injured, unhealthy and not up to par as before. Lots of these athletes were abandoned and made to borrow monies from foreigners while they were slave-camped in the USA. Calling for a probe will be an understatement.
On football, a lot had been said and written but it is obvious that Alhadji Maigari won’t leave because it is clear he believed that running the country’s football is his birthright despite lacking leadership and administrative skills to run a multibillion naira sports organization where membership are mostly highly educated folks that knows their craft in and out. To Miagari, you are not convincing anyone with your yea-sayers on social media, it’s not enough to be a Nigerian with elementary education to lead an entity when highly qualified, experienced and educated people are unemployed around you. The energy being expended to organize a parallel football federation or complained to FIFA can be channeled to enrol in college or University and it’s never too late. This writer will help you achieve such feat because you could be a Senator in the future if seize the opportunity.
Maurice Green, Eric Campbell and Angie Taylor must be sacked immediately in the same manner the country sacks anyone else not performing. If Siasia and others can sacked by the country’s sports officials for not performing well, these people that simply returned Nigeria to pre-independence era even with mercenaries must go. Danagogo take note, take action or you must go!
This writer noted in one of his articles that the country will gain by featuring only the juniors at the Commonwealth games just like Jamaica because those athletes should have been the country’s focus. And from now on, the NSC must take control of athletes’ development not federation with a new Sports Development Authority (SDA). Federations are not equipped or skilled to develop athletes and they never had been able to do so. It is the unpaid coaches that develop athletes and they must now be hired by the SDA in several regions of Nigeria. Federations must never be funded directly ever again. The athletes are known and the majority has bank accounts, the BIG question then is, why would NSC pays federation on athletes’ behalf? What was done in Brazil World Cup must be cast in stone. It is time the country remove the corruption loophole from athletes’ funding.
Nigeria’s Junior and Youth athletes must now be enrolled as development athletes’ staff of NSC towards the Rio Olympics Games. Any athlete over 21 years can simply be maintained, but not the focus of NSC developmental programs to be run by the SDA.
I rest for now.
Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London