Hard facts are beginning to emerge as to why Nigerian sports administration has been taking a big bashing for so many years. Coaches and sports buffs have come out to condemn the scourge of politicians that have been appointed as Sports Ministers and top administrators of different major sports in more than two decades.
As President Muhammadu Buhari settles down for business, former Green Eagles winger, Adelabu Adegoke and head Coach of Nigeria Para-Powerlifting Federation, Prince Aare Feyisetan, say the new administration should toe a different line while appointing a minister for the sports sector.
The duo stated that the country’s sports had suffered so much damage in the hands of politicians, who had overseen the sector since the return of civilian government in 1999.
From the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in 1999 till date, 13 politicians have held the portfolio as sports ministers. They are Damishi Sango, late Engr. Mark Aku, Steven Ibn Akiga (also late), Col. Musa Mohammed (rtd), Dr. Saidu Sambawa, Bala Ka’Oje, Abdulrahman Gimba, Sani Ndanusa, Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, Bolaji Abdullahi and Tamuno Danagogo.
You also may have noticed that the usual sponsors of Nigerian sports, companies like Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Pepsi, Chevron, Nigerian Breweries and Elephant Cement seem no longer keen as sponsors. This might not be unconnected with suspected clandestine demands of politicians overseeing the industry who are usually more interested in lining their pockets than improving Nigerian sports and athletes.
The world is watching Buhari to see if he will play politics with ministerial appointments as his predecessors have done or would ensure that technocrats with high moral standards are the only ones that get appointed to help him run Nigeria for the next four years.
Look back to the Jonathan administration and you see that the only sections of Nigeria that made some progress were the ones run by technocrats whereas the ministries run by politicians only embezzled funds while they pushed Nigeria into reverse.