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Look beyond party structure, save Nigerian sports, Adelabu tells Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari


Former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu has made a clarion call to President Muhammadu Buhari to look beyond political party structure in offering political appointments.In particular, Adelabu, who played club football with the IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, wants the President to set up a Presidential council for sports, which, he said, would open up the nation’s sports for participation and discovery of talents.

The Presidential council for sport, he said, would not be a burden to the government before it starts fending for itself.“Our philosophy for participation is no longer the driving force of our sports administration,” Adelabu, a sports scientist, told The Guardian. “We keep getting away with criminal behaviours in the way we handle our human infrastructure. There is nobody to question the administrative lawlessness of our political office holders. The fact that a governor planted you to become the president of a sport federation does not immune you from facing criminal charges.

“Our association with international bodies does not make Nigeria as a country to be subservient to any organization when there is need to prosecute fraudulent office holders who have no respect for constituted authority.”

Speaking further, Adelabu said: “There are some peculiarities about this nation that negate the tendency of doing justice, equity and fair play in ensuring the engagement of substantial amount of competent individuals in various fields for various political offices. We need to realize that every Nigerian cannot belong to political parties or adopt a godfather before one could be qualified to serve his nation. There should be a way by which the government could identify what she has in terms of human capacity and professional competences.

“We educate our children without knowing their level of competences in various professions. That is why we keep recycling people in the midst of about 200 million people. The saddest issue is that when a Professor of Education finds time to write a proposal to the minister of education on how to improve our educational system; apart from the fact that the receipt of the proposal will not be acknowledged, the whole thing will never see the light of the day or doctored in different ways and executed to make money. For how long can we cope with such destructive attitude of our office holders?” he queried.

Adelabu stated that the nation’s sports need a holistic approach, particularly from the grassroots. “I was invited to be the chairman at a School Inter house sports. I was shocked to learn that the competition takes place once in two years. I took time to go to the school and watch them during games period, and it was a pathetic sight as if the students were in an IDP camp. What happens to the school curriculum with respect to sport? You will not be surprised to know that there is no single student in any of our football cadres.

“My point is there should be a structure outside the government parastatal that will be given the responsibility of discovering people with great ideas that will move the nation forward without necessarily holding a political office. It is the government that is in control of the resources, unlike other countries where individual can partner with people with great ideas to help the nation. That is one of our limitations. The whole attention of Nigerians is now diverted to participation without adequate preparation. There is no follow up of our wonderful athletes. We need people with comprehensive understanding of the issues in our sport and how they could be addressed to provide direction for our development. There should be room for the removal of the Sport Minister if he or she cannot fix the pending issues as soon as possible,” Adelabu stated.

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