New board members emerge after Cricket Federation elections across the country
When the Olympics comes to a conclusion every four years, the glamour and excitement gradually wither as athletes, administrators and fans wake up to the inevitable reality that awaits them when they return home.
The National Sports Federations’ elections usually signal the end of a journey and the beginning of another. Politics is at its peak, board members scramble for re-election into various positions, while others outside believe they too can do the job, therefore, the contest for positions on the board.
This was the case of the just-concluded Cricket Federation elections on September 21 and 22, 2021 across the country.
Those, who have previously served, would have a self-assessment on their contributions to the growth and development of the sport to determine whether or not they deserve to return.
In isolated cases, candidates resort to desperate measures in a bid to attain the coveted prize.
For the sport, cricket, the evidence of their success stories are everywhere and they do not need witnesses to testify or hire marketers to sell their brand. They have been the federation with the most activities in the last four years, even applauded by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Notable achievements included the qualification for the U-19 World Cup for the first time in their history and the hiring of a foreign coach to improve the standard of cricket in the country.
One would expect that this is testament enough to have a smooth election from the various constituencies, but again, it wouldn’t be called an election if there were no changes or surprises from various quarters.
Peaceful elections were conducted across the country among various constituencies and most members of the board were returned unopposed, especially from the six geo-political zones in a very free and fair election much to the credit of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
However, South West returned with a new zonal representative in the person of Tayo Atoloye, Ex Nigeria International and huge promoter of grassroots cricket in the region, likewise North West with Usman Ladan, a seasoned administrator and Musa Sule Jarmai from Gombe State, representing North East.
Worthy of note is that the immediate past President of the Federation, Prof. Yahaya Ukwenya, opted out from contesting in the elections after serving passionately for 16 years on the board, aiming to go back to his primary passion as a grassroots cricket developer in Kaduna State.
His success recorded speaks volumes in every department of the game.
Former NCF President, Emeka Onyeama, who contested from the North Central region, was defeated by the incumbent, Mr. Dare Aimola.
Ex-International, Endurance Ofem, too got a nod to continue as the player’s representative along with Professor Suleiman, representing the National Association of Women in Sports (NAWIS). Coming highly recommended and making his first entrance into the board as the Technical Director is Joseph Eshua, a former General Manager of the Federation and an ex-international. He replaces Enesi Dahiru.
The next four years look very bright and the board members elected would know that the standards have just gone up even higher. All hands must be on deck to deliver the goods for Cricket Federation.