NSC: Odegbami Groans, Pinnick Prays, Yakmut Runaway to Zamfara & NSC on Sabbatical – By Dr. Rashid A. Balogun


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A live rabbit found in an ocean swimming is suggestive of how unusual nature can be as there could be several explanations, but a speaking rabbit is suggestive of the listener’s gymnastics of the mind. At this stage, when the Olympics Games is few months away, there were insinuations that National Sports Commission ‘NSC’s plan to prepare Nigeria’s expected contingent from December 2015. The operative word is ‘prepare’ and whoever that believes this is possible in this modern times also believes rabbit can speak. Frankly, preparation times are over, it should now be finishing touches, testing our athletes with series of international competitions, friendly matches, etc. Warehousing athletes at the so-called mosquito infested camps must never see light of the day again.

African Games ended few months ago and as usual the athletes were abandoned, sports development never gets off the ground despite whispering from several people, although some of them were clearly interested in looting any fund generated. This lull of activity by the NSC simply mean that it is on sabbatical while the athletes fends for themselves and that is the beginning of culture of dependency by the athletes. As this writing continues, it becomes clear how such culture destroys athletes’ innate ability and reasons.


This writer wrote a piece called, “FIFA Can Go To Hell” based on allegations of its past corrupt practices and its leader Mr. Sepp Blatter attitude towards Nigeria’s Judicial rulings. And of course, this writer was right as Mr. Blatter no longer heads FIFA and the entity is going through serious restructuring at the moment, which calls for election of the new President. Afterwards, potential candidates announced their intentions, including two Nigerians, Mr. Orji Kalu and Mr. Olusegun Odegbami.

The rules of such election were pre-set by FIFA rule book and candidates are expected to familiarise themselves with it. Mr. Kalu was meticulous in his quest by garnering several endorsements (about 40 countries as opposed to needing 5) outside Nigeria including the outgoing FIFA President, Mr. Blatter and African Football President, whereas Mr. Odegbami got mentioned on CNN news as potential FIFA President and nothing else internationally.

However, Mr. Odegbami was alleged to have convinced the Federal Government of Nigeria to support him instead of Mr. Kalu as a result Mr. Kalu dropped his candidacy. Mr. Odegbami himself wrote an article to that effect and he also said that, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) endorsement of his candidacy was not voluntary and was just a gimmick. Mr. Amaju Pinnick responded to murmuring by supporters of “Uncle Sege” as Mr. Odegbami is popularly referred to, that NFF simply ran out time to do anything but while the FIFA Presidency candidate issue’s runaround was going on, Mr. Pinnick was found at an Onike, Yaba, Lagos Church praying while Mr. Yakmut, the NSC Director-General was mysteriously quiet in the faraway Northern Nigeria.

Clearly, Mr. Odegbami never intended to go out there and seek those other nation endorsements as required rather as he noted, NFF ought to have done that. Why, this writer asks? This is a simple culture of entitlement mentioned earlier. Mr. Odegbami also requests, that a probe or inquest be carried out to checkmate NFF actions on his failed candidacy to be FIFA President. This writer asks again, is this a joke? Mr. Odegbami is seeking employment in a private international organization that has rules forbidden government interference, rather than comply with all pre-set rules, he engaged the federal government to do his bidding and when that effort failed, he wants people to be probed with taxpayers’ (including Mr. Kalu) funds. On a personal note, for what purpose is this probe? At the national level, who is the beneficiary of such probe? For avoidance of doubt, Mr. Odegbami sought employment and he could not meet the criteria, therefore, he never applied and he now wants the Federal Government of Nigeria to spend money that President Muhammadu Buhari said is scarce because he is Mr. Odegbami. This makes no sense and it is a clear example of the culture of entitlement and there are pockets (well, few) former athletes that expect the Federal Government to bail them out even if they are coughing simply because they represented Nigeria in the past. Oh, yes, most of them were all paid their entitlements including extacode, allowances, etc. when they competed and of course they were amateur athletes as such, pension or favours from governments were never part of the equation.

Should these future benefits be part of the equation? This writer thinks not because the former athletes knew pension or future favours or post were never part of the deal? Current and future athletes’ stands a better chance to negotiate before competing because sports have become a full profession. Really, this writer is laughing at this FIFA Presidency soap opera.

On Athletics

Athletics Federation of Nigeria ‘AFN’ is as usual sleepy until there is an international competition and money to share. Solomon Ogba, its imposed leader is hiding, Commodore Nesiama is fighting wars and the rest of the Board members are in deep sleep. Some sponsors have disappeared for fear of being probed of ill-gotten wealth, NSC simply cannot justify funding mediocrity, not the athletes, but the administrators because they haven’t got a clue about sports development or even elite sports.

I rest for now.                                                                                      


Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)



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