By Jacob Ajom
Following the sudden dissolution of the Federal Executive Council by the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Wednesday, a major stakeholder in Nigerian sports, Seigha Porbeni, has advised against the appointment of a politician to succeed Engineer Sani Ndanusa as the next minister of sports.
Porbeni was a national champion from school days both in Nigeria and in the United States where he remained a top athlete before returning to Nigeria to join legendary Lee Evans in developing the crop of athletes who gave Nigeria a name in sports.
In a telephone chat with Sports Vanguard, the revered sports administrator and coach opined that rather than appointing a politician, the Acting President should look for a technocrat who is versed in sports to occupy that position.
â€œEven if they want to make it a party affair, there are sports technocrats in PDP. We have some who are even politicians and who can be saddled with sports administration. But they must not insist on that. Sports is a special area and deserves some expertise. That has been missing for long in Nigerian sports.
â€œSince the advent of the present political dispensation, we have been having politicians as sports ministers and they have done a lot of damage to Nigerian sports,â€ he said arguing that sports which is the best unifying factor in the Nigerian polity had suffered a lot of retrogression because the wrong people were appointed to man the ministry.
â€œApart from being a unifying factor, sports is the biggest employer of youths, and hundreds of thousands of them can actually be kept out of the streets doing sports if there was proper
planning and implementation of programmes,â€ he said, berating successive civilian administrations of not doing enough to improve sports in the country.
Porbeni questioned why the appointment of sports ministers has been restricted to a particular section of the country. Even at that, he asked, are there no people with good background in sports than what had been offered Nigeria? Donâ€™t we have people who have the interest and knowledge in sports in those areas if the minister must come from any particular area?â€ he asked.