BY SEGUN ODEGBAMI
In the past one-month the cases of Christian Chukwu and Peter Fregene, two football giants in Nigeria’s history, have gone viral on social media. They have attracted global attention to the plight of former international sports heroes across all sports in the country.
Their pictures have been pathetic, depicting a nation totally unmoved by the plight of its greatest ambassadors – sports heroes!
That’s where we are now in sport. It needs an injection of new ideas and of a new kind of leadership to rise above the present plateau.
And with all the ills bedeviling sport, what is also needed now is a new understanding so that it can occupy its rightful place in government. That way its awesome power can be deployed to make a meaningful contribution to the country’s development. Sports need the right institution and the right leadership to steer it.
To be specific: the National Sports Commission, independent of the Ministry of Sports, should make a final come back in this new dispensation. It should have a board of members fulfilling all political and technical righteousness. It should be guided by a person that is versed, qualified and very experienced in the business of sports.
President Muhammed Buhari must rethink his government’s attitude to sport. He must set aside politics, ethnicity, religion and the Ministry of Sports, and immediately sign into law the NSC act still incubating in the National Assembly.
The new NSC should have a board of sports technocrats representing different stakeholders and interests related to sport, with a clear, simple and practical mandate to take Nigerian sports, within a very short time, to the pinnacle. The present state of things presents Nigeria the opportunity to change the face and fate of sports for good, forever.