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Best Time To Be Minister

By Ikeddy Isiguzo

SOME cruel jokes have emerged in the light of the departure of the Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They became jobless on March 17. There was even a debate whether they had any job in the first place.

When it comes to sports, our ways are always different. I have heard it said times over that we did not need a Minister of Sports. I disagree. I think if things are as bad as many agree they are, with a Minister of Sports, in place, who (hopefully) attends cabinet meetings whenever they hold, thinks for sports, speaks for sports then things could easily get worse without such a central character. These are my assumptions.

The other side of this debate is that there could be an individual in that capacity, whose centrality rests squarely on the fact that he is equi-poised to garner all the opportunities to himself. Calls therefore for no Minister for Sports are informed by the stagnation  and in some cases retardation  some have ministered to sports.

I have indelible memories of some Ministers of Sports. Their stewardship was dipped in indifference to their mission. I am readily corrected by the reminder that I rate them so poorly because I always assume I know their mission.

The intensity of the lobby to replace the departing Ministers, some of who many think have eaten for too many seasons, does not leave room for much strategic thinking about who our next servants (yes that is what Ministers are) should be.

We are a country transiting from one Minister to another, mostly to make way for others to take their turn. It would not make much difference who the next Minister of Sports would be, as all he would do is dust his passport for a wintry summer in South Africa, moderating disputes over the vuvuzela drowning the efforts of Nigerian supporters.

If he skirts that assignment, he has the Commonwealth Games in October and when he flips to 2011, his own campaign would be on the importance of Nigeria posting a respectable acting at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
His assignment is well cut out for him  be smart enough to learn the name of the Eagles coach, know the correct noises to make about the importance of sports (helps with getting a big budget) and nobody would blame you for arriving after everything had been done.


of the Team Manager of Bayelsa United, Rev. Affen Ebimobowei Philips have sent a Save-Our-Soul message to the State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Presidency over the health of the award winning football manager, who is in dire need of $54,000 for a kidney transplant in an Indian hospital.

Philips broke an arm in a motor accident on Kabba Road on 5 January 2009 while returning from a league match between the Zamfara United and his team. His condition deteriorated following lack of sustained treatment. Last October 18, Philips was taken to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, where he was diagnosed of end-stage kidney failure. In a letter written by the Renal and Dialysis Unit of the UPTH and signed by the Consultant Nephrologists, Dr. F. S. Wokoma, Philips is expected to be treated with a minimum $54,000.

Philips said though the football club and the State Government assisted him during and after the accident, the thrice weekly dialysis at the cost of N120, 000 was a heavy burden. “I need help from Nigerians and the State Government because I am dying and I don’t want to die,” he said.

In his letter to the State Governor, he said, “It can be seen from the attached letter from the UPTH dated 3 March, the medical bill is more than what I can ever pay. I am appealing to you to use your good office to save my life. I have served the state with all my heart. Help me and save me from the clutches of death.”

Philips awaits the response of the Governor.


It is really sad what Nigerians go through to access medical services even when they are in full employment. If the dictates of Decree 10 that commenced the Professional League in 1990 when followed, clubs were to be insured and provide medical facilities for their players and officials. Details of the team members’ contracts listing the extent of the welfare packages were to be deposited annually with the Professional League Bureau. Please let us help Philips.

the times that Nigerian football went to limbo were the times Amodu was in charge. Amodu took over a cream of talents and rubbished them. That Nigeria achieved what they did in the CAF and FIFA tourney is just as they say that “No matter how an elephant grow lean, he can never enter a squirrel’s hole”. Nigeria would have even done better without a coach. All our failures arose from inept tactics.

Chris OGBDO,

I GUESS this is your response to the encounter with Amodu. We are a country of 150 million, and may have that number of coaches, from the look of things. A coach remains at his job at the pleasure of those who appointed him. Someone appointed Amodu and must have been satisfied with the tactics.


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