Any Change in Sports Yet After Buhari’s One Year Reign?


The present Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has ruled this nation for one year. Many still ask, what has changed? Where are we headed? Hopes were raised hence, expectations were high.

The ordinary Nigerian youth finds sports as the canopy where opportunities abound being a multi-billion dollar sector yet to be harnessed as is believed by many.

In the last one year, our sports men and women have been engaged in different events and laurels have been won, but have we improved or developed as the ministry is called that of Youth and Sports development? Just as the presidency has been busy, the man saddled with the responsibility of administering the sports sector has been very active. Barrister Solomon Dalung, appointed about six months ago, and his impact has indeed been felt sports loving Nigerians.

The good in brief

It is important to state that the traditional sports being football and Basketball are in the fore just as usual. Specifically, the national men Basketball team D’ Tigers reached a milestone by winning their first Afrobasket title in Tunisia last year. Consequently, the team qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics games in Brazil.

Samson Siasia unexpectedly qualified the Dream Team IV for the Olympics after winning the U-23 African Championship in Congo Brazzaville. The Nigeria U-17 won the FIFA World Cup in Chile

Nigeria’s attendance at the All African Games was not a jamboree after all as the team secured second place positions with impressive results from the Wrestling team.

In Scrabble, Wellington Jighere became world number one and first African to win the English Language Championship in Perth beating British rival Lewis Mackay.

Meanwhile, some other sporting associations like the Table Tennis federation and Cricket also showed some positives.

The Bad and Ugly

Nigerians are still in shock of the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations for two consecutive editions. Note, the senior national team reached its lowest FIFA ranking 67th in the world.

The Honourable sports minister has been unable to quell the power tussle between Amaju Pinnick led Nigeria Football Federation and embattle disgruntled Chris Giwa. Dalung showed his lack of knowledge in football administration after requesting that the present elected board accommodates some members of the Giwa faction.

The basketball family also had its fair share of crisis as some point with the emergence of African Basketball League which was declared illegitimate by the Nigeria Basketball Federation.  Again, how did Dalung manage this? It was reported that the minister met with organizers of the ABL somewhere in London when he is ‘’fully aware’’ of the legitimate body.

If we are still in the age where athletes and federations cry for funds to prepare for events held in four years, it simply shows nothing has changed. The nations athletes are preparing for Olympic Games, all the sporting associations are crying and begging for funds. Recently, the wrestling national coach Mr Purity Aku confirmed that the fighters have been training in Bayelsa and needed the support of stakeholders to ensure a successful outing.

This administration’s zero tolerance for corruption is yet to fish out how the supposed N2.9billion released for last years All African Games was appropriated by the then National Sports Commission under the Director General Al-Hassan Yakmut which has greatly hampered the disbursement of fund toward the Olympic games

It is also worthy to mention that the ministry has not been able to help sleeping federations like the Handball.

The Way Forward

The famous mantra of this administration is change but it shows nothing has changed for the better in this sector where many youths find relief. What then is expected in the following days? There is room for consulting where the ministry deem it necessary, but overtime our most recent sports ministers have failed to harness the wealth of knowledge deposited in well-meaning Nigerians who are not politicians but core administrators in their respected sporting fields.

The rugged – spirit exhibited by our dear sports minister Barrister Solomon Dalung is appreciated. His activism must be mixed with sheer intelligence if he wants to help this administration succeed and bring about the desired change.

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