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Messing Up Things

By Ikeddy Isiguzo
WE excel in different areas. Crises excite us, we seem not to be able to do without them. Unlike in other places where crises lead to some peace when they are resolved, here, we make all the noise, get attention, relapse to inexplicable placidity only to wait for doom.

The radar is on the election of the Nigeria Olympic Committee planned for December 9 in Dutse. For many years the NOC election has assumed an importance that has little to do with the plans of aspirants to improve the state of our sports.

Election this year is spectacular for the fact that more than 13 years after the Minister of Sports tried to annex the powers of the NOC to his powers as the Minister of Sports, another Minister wants to re-enact this move.

It is absurd in an era of more openness for the powers of the NOC  a usually private body that superintends the activities of all the sports federations that subscribe to the ideals of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, another private body, to be wholesomely placed in the hands of government.

Truth is that we have had these powers in the hands of government by proxy for many years. Abu Gumel, the one who wants to be the NOC President was a director in the Federal Ministry of Sports while he initially held office. He took direct orders from the Sports Minister, who was rungs above him in authority in addition to other top officials of the Ministry.

When he first became the NOC President, he was a junior director in the Ministry and situations arose where his position as NOC President was relegated on the protocol list to reflect his place in our Sports Ministry hierarchy.

These reflected government’s desire, long standing and a carry over from the military era, of being in full control of sports. The independence of the NOC was something government abhorred and thought it dealt blows to its own plan to rein in sports development.

What is very worrisome about the NOC election is that neither candidate would serve the NOC well. Mr. Gumel had a colourless and unmemorable tenure. He wants to extend it. I had thought Mr. Gumel would have been content with his new position as the Executive Board member of the IOC. He is in addition the Treasurer of the Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa. ANOCA, and Vice President of the International Volleyball Federation.

Mr. Gumel should not be under any illusions that he can combine these offices with running an NOC that needs care all the time. He would not have the time  the patriotic thing should have done is to step down from running. I do not think it is late.

His presence in the race is disruptive and would set the NOC back for years. It would also stunt the growth of the NOC and sports in general. There is a simple logic to this, if Major-General Henry Edmund Olufemi Adefope, the retired IOC Member in Nigeria had clung to the NOC Presidency while IOC Member in Nigeria would Mr. Gumel have been NOC President from where he stepped to the IOC position?

Possibly worse is Mr. Sani Ndanusa’s involvement. Mr. Ndanusa is Minister/Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC. He has held to his post as the President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, an absurdity, considering that the Minister oversees all sports. He is also a member of the continental tennis federation. His quest for the Presidency of the NOC is one of the lowest blows to Nigerian sports.

Mr. Ndanusa has neither the time nor the capacity to handle all these positions. What discernible thing has he done as the Minister of Sports/ Chairman NSC? By law, the NSC is non-existent. He has been unable to get a legal status for the NSC.

If he has spare time he should invest it in pursuing the various development plans that are in the works, not in pursuit of another title.

The quest of both gentlemen does not have the interest of Nigerian sports in mind. They have become so concerned with the length of their titles that they have forgotten that there a demand for performance from each of these positions.

Mediocrity has expectedly crept into the explanations for these seasoned efforts at dictatorship in the country’s sports. I have no time for these subterfuges that are all self-serving.

I expect that the two candidates should stand down from the election, they are unnecessary distractions to the minimal attempts to re-direct our sports.

What they finally decide, the concentration of too many powers in one hand is contrary to all the trends that lead to development. I stand against this final script to finally cripple Nigerian sports in the face of daunting demands that deserve everyone’s attention.

Reward For Eaglets

AM I the only one that missed the fact that the Federal Government did not announce any form of rewards for the Eaglets who finished second at the FIFA U-17 World Cup or was something done secretly?

Government has admitted in more ways than it would express that something is wrong with that team and the entire competition. It would not be enough to be quiet about it.

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