Vanguard (Lagos)

14 October 2007

Nigeria: Sports Development in Country - the Public Service Perspective

Lagos — Our members should suggest practical solutions to the problems confronting sports in schools, colleges, universities, and Sports Councils. We must encourage the right people to enter the sports bureaucracy in order to bring about the desired evolution and revolution in sports. (Akioye 1972)

Leadership has been defined as a social influencing process of guiding, conducting or being foremost among colleagues in the attainment of organizational goals.

Amuchie (2005) gave the specific and general qualities a good leader must possess as:-

1.Sound judgment, logical thinking, common sense and ability to discriminate right from wrong.

2.Ability to communicate effectively to colleagues and the public, his mission and vision.

3.Robust Health: good physical, mental and emotional health are required to carry out (he. duties regularly and effectively and to be able to withstand long hours of late meetings and long constant travels.

4. Good Personality: A good leader must possess good trait such as enthusiasm, friendliness, cheerfulness, industry, cooperation, self control and integrity required to work with people.

5. Adjustment: He must understand individual differences among his colleagues and cope with them. Hence a leader must be tactful, patient, tolerant, loyal, sympathetic and compassionate as well as firm.

6. Sincere interest in the work: A leader must be ready to devote extra time and energy outside the official hours not paid for, for the advancement of the profession and organizational goals.

7. A model: He must be a model in theory and practice by living by what he preaches.

Against this backdrop, we can gladly recall, within living memory, some eminent public servants that had offered quality leadership and contributed significantly toward sports development in Nigeria; viz;

• Late Jerry A. Enyeazu ,

Late H.J. Ekperigin

• Late EzeAchiugo

• Late Prof. A.O. Ajiduah

• Prof. F.A, Amuchie

• Late Prof. S.J. Adedeji

• Late Air Commodore Samson En~ieka Omeruah

• Dr. Awoture Eleyae

• Alhaji (Dr.) Mahmud Yayale Ahmed

• His Excellency, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu (Governor of Niger State)

• Mr. l.A Akioye

• ChiefGray Longe

• Dr. Amos Adamu

• Prof E.O.Ojeme

• Chief Patrick Ekeji

• Dr. A.T. Yusuf

• Mr. Sylvester M.S. lkuejamoye, and many others which time and space could not allow me to enlist herein.

OBSERVATION ON PERCEIVED CONSTRAINTS ON PUBLIC SERVICE IN SPORTS DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

1. Regimented organizational structure.

2. Limited knowledge about sports as a knowledge-driven activity.

3. Limited support management.

for professionalization of sports

4. Limited support for the implementation of the national policy on education as it relates to the teaching of physical education and entrenchment of school sports.

5. Limited support for sports as a major budgetary item in public expenditure.

6. Low research interest on sports development.

Other observations:

Actualization of development goal in the nation's sports

The actualization of the nation's sports development objective of becoming a world class sports nation, as recently charged by Mr. President, at the reception ceremony of the Golden Eaglets, warrants the availability of enabling or facilitating inputs, especially in areas of:

(i) Enactment and enforcement of resu!t-oriented sports legislations so that concerned agencies and organizations will be compelled to fulfill or play their obligations to sports.

(ii). Enhance budgetary provision for sports at all levels of the government and other stakeholders, institution/organizations.

(iii) Provision of modern sports facilities and equipment throughout the nation to fast-track sports development.

(iv) Appointment of people with the requisite knowledge and right attitude to man critical sports management positions.

2.PRIVATIZATION OR COMMERCIALIZATION OF SPORTS IN NIGERIA

No investor will participate in a venture that is substantially a social service --Tijani A. Abdullahi (July 2007) Managing Director/CEO Abuja Investment Company Limited.

Within the context of the above unfortunate quotation, I will like to reiterate that sports is a revered and cherished social entity that no government can afford to gamble with. Furthermore, sports being an indispensable and inseparable discipline (part) of general education, should be adequately provided for and protected from sports hawkers whose interest is only to make profits. However, participatory efforts of the private or corporate bodies should be encouraged through sponsorship and sports-friendly mutual partnership.

May I also stress that sports development is a process and not an end. We must learn not to jump the cue by wrongly copying what is obtainable in other sports developed countries without first, finding out how and what it took them to be there, in addition to the facts that, such countries may have completely different socioeconomic and cultural background. Therefore, it will amount to taking the concept and practice of privatization too far and also stretching our luck too far, to contemplate privatization of the sports sub-sector for now, in Nigeria.

Perhaps, one may like to know if NAFDAC, CBN and their likes that have been recording visible and appreciable success are privatized. It is therefore, my considered view that the government at all levels and by extension, the Public Service must develop the courage and political will to engage sports administrators with the requisite knowledge and right attitude to occupy critical sports management positions in the country.

3.RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL SPORTS COMMISSION (NSC)

For the sake of refreshing our memories, the National Sports Commission (NSC) came into existence in November, 1962, as the National Sports Council, it was not until Au gust 1971 that legislative provision was made and it was re-christened, National Sports Commission through, Decree 34, as published in the official Gazette NO. 4, Volume 58 of August 12, 1971, Again, in 1995, the government of late Gen. Sani Abacha reverted the National Sports Commission back to the Ministry, until April 2007, when the government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo again scrapped the Ministry of Sports and Social Development and reverted to National Sports Commission.

Reacting to the above changes, Morankinyo (1999) observed that there seems to be a mix-up in the policy of the Federal Government on sports, a situation that has confused sports legal environment. It is pertinent to note that Section 6 of Chapter 7 of the "Sports Development Policy for Nigeria" (1989), specifically advocated that:

the government shall establish and maintain a National Sports Commission which shall be responsible to the Federal Ministry

of Youth and Sports.

Furthermore, the same section encourages States to:

Establish and maintain State Sports

• Councils which shall be responsible to the State Ministries of Youth and Sports.

Again, whereas the State still comply with this policy, the Federal government has not done so. Morankinyo (1999) further posited that the co-existence of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Social Development (FMSSD) and National Sports Commission (NSC) will go a long way in strengthening and enhancing sports management in the country.

Firstly, my candid view on the above changes is that "it is the man that makes any structure or office to work and not the other way

10 round". This is why in management; the human resource factor is always considered the most critical factor in achieving the mandate of the organization.

However, let me quickly add that the Commission*s (NSC) administrative structure has the following inherent advantages:-

-Professionalization of the management of sports.

- Elimination of unnecessarybureaucratic encumbrances and;

- Speedy service and result delivery.

4. VISION 2020

IA furtherance of my earlier submission on the need for the legislation of result-oriented sports policy to guide and protect the nation's future sports development agenda, it is my thinking that, given the socio-economic importance of sports in any nation, the Vision 2020 of the present administration may have a missing-link, if sports is not properly captured and factored into the proposed Vision (2020). It is therefore, our collective responsibility, as Public Servants, to draw the attention of relevant authorities to this important factor.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE WAY FORWARD

The Public service should institutionalize a system to ensure that only persons with the right aptitude and attitude occupy top management positions in sports.

•.More interest and commitment should be demonstrated by the various agents of the Public Service in the formation of

•clubs and teams to provide more opportunities and enabling environment for good number of Public Servants to engage in competitive and recreational sports.

•.More snorts education for public servants is hereby recommended to inculcate positive sports culture and attitude in them.

•.Public Servants should facilitate speedy implementation of sports policies, plans and programmes, as well as other crucial sports matters including making adequate budgetary provisions and timely release of funds for sports development at the various levels of the government and other stakeholder-agencies and institutions.

Furthermore, outstanding Public Servants who have contributed significantly to sports development in Nigeria should be adequately recognized and motivated with merit, scholarship or cash awards.

The Public Service should develop more courage and interest to contribute positively with meaningful inputs on all matters of serious concern affecting sports development in Nigeria, such as, privatization or commercialization of sports, re-establishment of the NSC, etc, as we are doing today.•:• More importantly, as a matter of priority, the Public Service must ensure that sports is properly captured and factored into the "2020 vision" of the present government.

CONCLUSION

In this presentation, modest effort has been made to discuss issues relating to sports development in Nigeria and the indispensable roles of the Public Service in achieving the desired results. In charting the way forward, a number of recommendations were made.

Secondly, this paper made humble observations and inputs on current crucial sports issues, such as, the achievement of the nation*s sports development goal, privatization of sports in Nigeria,

• re-establishment of the National Sports Commission and Vision 2020 and SPORTS.

Finally, it was submitted that governm~ñt at all levels and by extension, the Public Service must initiate and consolidate Legislative and Executive actions to fast-track sports development in Nigeri8 and most importantly, appoint qualified and dedicated persons to critical sports positions of high responsibility.

Dr. Ogu, Director of Sports, FCT Abuja and National Secretary-General (NAPHER-SD)

presented this paper presented at the 6th edition of the annual seminar of Federation of Public Service Games in Minna, Niger State on September 27, 2007

(iv) Appointment of people with the requisite knowledge and right attitude to man critical sports management positions.

2.PRIVATIZATION OR COMMERCIALIZATION OF SPORTS IN NIGERIA

"no investor will participate in a venture that is substantially a social service"

Tijani A. Abdullahi (July 2007) Managing Director/CEO Abuja Investment Company Limited.

Within the context of the above unfortunate quotation, I will like to reiterate that sports is a revered and cherished social entity that no government can afford to gamble with. Furthermore, sports being an indispensable and inseparable discipline (part) of general education, should be adequately provided for and protected from sports hawkers whose interest is only to make profits. However, participatory efforts of the private or corporate bodies should be encouraged through sponsorship and sports-friendly mutual Partnership.

May I also stress that sports development is a process and not an end. We must learn not to jump the cue by wrongly copying what is obtainable in other sports developed countries without first, finding out how and what it took them to be there, in addition to the facts that, such countries may have completely different socio-economic and cultural background. Therefore, it will amount to taking the concept and practice of privatization too far and also stretching our luck too far, to contemplate privatization of the sports sub-sector for now, in Nigeria.

Perhaps, one may like to know if NAFDAC, CBN and their likes that have been recording visible and appreciable success are privatized. It is therefore, my considered view that the government at all levels and by extension, the Public Service must develop the courage and political will to engage sports administrators with the requisite knowledge and right attitude to occupy critical sports management positions in the country.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2007 Vanguard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.