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‘Nigeria failed to take advantage of technological, scientific advancements in development of sports’

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Independence Day is a time of joy for us all when we remind ourselves of how far we have advanced from the past to the present, so that we can look at the future in anticipation of greater achievement.

The world today has become a global village such that no country can claim ignorance of abundance of knowledge and human capital resources to change whatever area she is lacking behind in development.

Looking at our age in sports participation, from the above premise, it is sad to note that Nigeria as a nation has failed consistently to take advantage of both technological and scientific advancements in the development of her sport. We knew how we started and with all the opportunities available today, why have we failed to advance in our sport administration and sport personality management?

I think this is a listening government and if the president is not interested in sport or may be the people, who are his eyes and ears, refused to talk to the president about the decadence in our sport industry, a day will come when the president will be forced to ask why the youths participate more in crime as sport. We have deceived the president to believe that presenting a group of players with silver medals earned from lackluster performance in competition is all about sport development. We are entering into another era that will reveal every form of mediocrity in our sport administration.

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My question to every sport loving Nigerian, who watches sports and games on the television, is why are you not asking questions on the issues of how many Nigerians are playing Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Basketball, Swimming, Hockey just to mention but a few for a living internationally? There are so many competitions going on around the world, where are our God given athletes? What are we doing with our population of young men and women? There are people who are paid and vested with the responsibility of harnessing the talents and potentials of the youths, what is happening.

The amount of money that our youths are yearning for, by killing each other, seeking for supremacy through cultism and engaging in nefarious activities for money making rituals could easily be earned through sport participation. Also it is important for the President to know that many football clubs cannot pay the players’ salaries and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

The president needs to ask our sport administrators why there are no Nigerian match officials at the global stage for several years. What are we doing wrong? We keep padding budget for competitions without any development at the local level. Most of the successes we had in the past, especially at the age grade competitions, had no impact at the grass root level. When is the Mr President going to hold our administrators responsible for the decline in our sport development? What about the abandoned sport facilities all over the states.

We need to ask how many graduates of Human Kinetics and Health Education are gainfully employed by the sport ministry and sport councils? Where are they and how qualified are the people in charge of our administration.
I went around some states to see the gyms and recreation centres across the country, who certified the fitness instructors to work in gyms? How is their knowledge updated in the way they handle human health? The government cannot just close her eyes to all these criminal activities against human health.

We need to develop a form of accreditation for these oufits. Majority of the area boys in Lagos are trained as boxers so that they can fight the danfo drivers who refuse to pay them money on demand.

The labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain. How are we fulfilling this prophetic word in the way we treat our sport men and women. I don’t know if any sport man or woman has ever had insurance claims in the history of sport in this country. What about researches? What have we discovered in our universities that can be used in the development of our potential? All the researches by the Professors and PhD graduates in the areas of sport science, where are they?

It is important for the government to look into sport economy and set up a presidential council for sport just as it was done for the new economic committee set up by the president so that we can have proper diagnosis of the issues plaguing our sport development.

Happy Independence to all sport loving Nigerians.
• Dr. Adegoke Adelabu, a former IICC and national team star, is currently a sports scientist and consultant.

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