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2013: NSC Official Year of Scandals, Intimidations and Burial of Sports. How I See it.

Once upon a time, life was very valuable and cherished with minimalist tendencies, if any. Humans, animals, birds and other visible creatures roam free except for occasional predatory snipers. Yes, life was good back then because now predators are not snipers in hideout rather are in your face with knowledge that your family is watching their atrocities. Bondage I say, but God will help us out.

Case for Special Sports

The above is simply a graphic metaphor to drive home the plight of an ordinary athlete facing the continual degradation, assaults, threats and all other unbecoming conducts of so-called officials. Of course the National Sports Commission (NSC) in its (constant) sleep maintains a nonchalant attitude or ignorance towards any of such behaviors even in the event that well-meaning individuals confront it with mountainous evidences. This writer fears for the life of average special sports athlete because they keep the country image alive in all sports than our able-bodied at least for the time being.

The key point to note is that an able-bodied can seek and obtains necessary support even though may not be adequate or enough, but special sports’ athletes usually got nothing! A noted circumstance in the media recently concern an individual named Shehu Isa, who is a physically challenged individual who peddles some legitimate products at the Airport in Lagos just as other individuals. They were all driven out due to reconstruction without compensation. On the surface of this, average Nigerian will not have a problem with this scenario but a learned person will see a big discrimination written all over it for adverse effect on the physically challenged retailers. Mr. Isa cannot find alternative means of earning elsewhere and significant level owners of shops do discriminate against anyone without their physical character including physically challenged.

At no time has NSC ever declared publicly its intention to fund any special sports athlete welfare as opposed to other athletes. Furthermore, the rate of accolades given to the Sydney Olympics medalist, Blessing Okagbare and many individuals that have nothing to do with her, Coaches and other entourages though as pointed out by the majority of Nigerians as well deserved but can anyone articulate whether such praises ever gone to the families and so-called entourages of our London Olympics Paralympics GOLD MEDALISTS. To this writer, the policy of unequal treatment of the effect of a decision is discriminatory and in fact legally unsound.

The country is endowed with highly skilled legal advisers to His Excellency Mr. Goodluck Jonathan that this writer is in pain to understand how the country cannot see this adverse treatment. Good intention but bad delivery, justifying a need to slap someone silly.

The country special sports’ athletes need the nation right now before next Olympics and in some quarters some of them are already contemplating dumping the country just as other individuals.

 

New Year, New Beginning

When the media shout brain drain as reasons for the shortage of doctors but the NSC or sports officials cannot comprehend that such acknowledged phenomenon cut across all professions including sports. Again, certain states are doing their part to keep Nigerian athletes at home which is commendable and of course it is necessary to name such states, they are Delta, Lagos, Kano, Cross Rivers, Imo, Abia and a few others not in the media like Jigawa, Zamfara, Plateau. Some states strategically never announced publicly what they are doing, so it’s very difficult to suggest they are not doing anything because the results of the performances of their athletes in junior competitions were commendable. Good journalists are aware of what many states doing and that some are doing all they can for the athletes while mediocre writers are focused on propaganda for just one state simply because that state funds some of their travels and extends some monetary gains to them. This writer knows them well (however these words are interpreted).

The country must now focus on the athletes, key suggestions include:

1. Funding identified elite athletes directly from the Finance Ministry;

2. Funding local community area sports facilities directly from Finance Ministry / Public works;

3. Funding School sports program (PE aspects of the school curriculum) directly from the Education Ministry;

4. NIS must be merged with the Education Ministry;

5. The Federal Sports Facilities upgrade must be downloaded from the NSC responsibility to the Public Works mandate;

6. If the NSC is to remain a commission then at least SIX COMMISSIONERS MUST BE APPOINTED.

Political Calculation and Speculations

A news report that is essentially a propaganda tool by NSC advocating for the wreckers of sports in Nigeria to retain their political appointments as Minister, Director-General, etc. by some individuals calling themselves stakeholders headed by an individual from National Schools federations who said in advance of the President dumping Mr. Bolaji Abdullahi as Sports Minister, claimed the country needs continuity of ‘mediocrity’ where a small country like Kenya has more relevance internationally than Nigeria. To that, Mr. Mohammed (the writer believes) you are dead wrong, the country needs a rebirth in Sports where the focus is athletes not perambulators, incompetence, archaic equipment, foolish spending, duplicate agenda, weak leadership, a commission without commissioners and illegal operations.

Sani Ndanusa, the former Sports Minister and Tennis federation imposed leader also entered the propaganda bandwagon without shame. Tennis is the worst sport in Nigeria in terms of all categories of quantification whether equipment, facilities, athletes’ performance or relevance in discussion in Nigeria and Mr. Ndanusa has led this sports federation for almost 30years but yet no one is saying that his time is up not even the successive sports Ministers including the incumbent. This is really sad, where are the former ace Sadiq Abdullahi, Nduka Odizor, etc.? Those former stars ought to be ashamed of themselves for not intervening as handballers and footballers are doing just as this writer. These guys are PhD holders and some of them are respected lawyers and this writer simply can’t understand why the silence or support of sports Minister not even showing any bit of concern for Tennis.

To add further insults to Nigerians, Mr. Elegbeleye, the so-called Director-General also threw accolades to his Excellency for a job well done and this writer can then ask if Mr. President is the one doing the job, then why is the country paying Mr. Elegbeleye?

Clearly, these individuals are simply licking you know what and cannot be taken seriously. As usual, Mr. Abdullahi is AWOL in this propaganda campaign because he is now in the precarious situation of political loyalty logjam and that’s the reason of having others do the bidding for him. The writer believes the balcony closed long time ago but the replacement is another conundrum.

The Main Atrocities of NSC in 2013

NSC seized the athletics federation (AFN) control with imposing its leaders by fraudulent election process, hiring its’ coach and technical director, although it’s a welcome development for NSC to handle athlete's development but the commission cannot do that within AFN rather publicly remove all federations from sharing its own responsibility. Again good intention bad delivery, someone got to be slapped silly.

AFN lacked authority to meddle with athlete development according to the IAAF rules but in Nigeria NSC transferred such to AFN in violation IAAF standard of independence from the athletes or national government in return NSC determines AFN leadership by favoring people lacking any skill in such sport.

But the granddaddy of all NSC atrocities is the public advertorial, trips and announcement of the National Youth Games. Imagine, the sports Minister sought under-15 UK citizens by hosting a party in London at significant costs of his entourage including Mary Onyali, Elegbeleye and others rather than going to the thick forest of Abia, Enugu, Osun, Sokoto, Kano, Edo, etc. to seek under 15 talents at no cost (these states would have incurred the costs). And of course it was not reported that anyone of those UK Citizens showed up at the Youth Games and this writer is among those that demands the return of money wasted on estacode, accommodations, airline tickets (some first class), hall rental, food, drinks, etc.

Many more atrocities were chronicled by this writer throughout 2013 and in summary, Mr. Abdullahi tenure serves no purpose and a total waste of funds, therefore, he must go.

I rest for now.

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