Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Stop Politicising Sports - Ezekwesili

Former minister of education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili has charged sports administrators in the country to stop politicizing the sector if Nigeria must regain its lost glory in the world of sports.

Speaking at the public presentation of TEAP FC, an Abuja based football club owned by the Redeem Christian Church of God, She said the country may not reap the benefit of its talents due to the high level of politics in the sports sector by administrators.

Ezekwesili proudly called 'Madam Due Process' urged the nation's administrators to change their strategy in the discovery of talents, pointing out that the discovery of TEAP FC was in line with the federal government's ambition to develop sports from the grassroots.

The former Director of the World Bank said the evolution of TEAP FC was part of the church's plan to rediscover ex internationals like Segun Odegbami, Haruna Ilerika, Christain Chukwu, Best Ogedemgbe among others.

"I don't know if it is politics that is holding sports down in Nigeria but whatever it is, it is politics that has created mediocrity in the sports sector and it is time to think afresh a different approach and strategy.

"For too long, this nation has been held down by a poor understanding that the talents of individual citizens is greater than whatever is underneath the earth.

"A replacement of strategy is urgent in our nation's sports and all that it holds within it can be a vehicle toward that replacement strategy.

"We need a strategy that focuses on our human capital. A population does not become a human capital untill adequate investment is made to transform it from the basic human beings to human beings with superior talents in the diverse field of life including sports," she said.

According to her, the growth of TEAP FC within two years of its existence was an indication that the Nigerian League would soon change for the better. "We are in the process of getting our people back to be interested in the national league.

"It saddens me that the country spends so much time promoting the foreign leagues and I am saying, we could do with having all of that energy focused on developing our own and when you speak to the young people about the national league, it is a complete blank.

"The reason is that they haven't been inspired enough by the activities of the league to give it the kind of attention they give to the foreign leagues.

"What we are looking at is giving these children opportunity of a life time so as not to bother about some of the challenges they would have individually have to overcome where they are cognisant of their talent and have a platform to express it," she added.

Chairman of the occasion and Governor of River state, Rotimi Amaechi, represented by his deputy, Engr. Telle Ikuru, said the emergence of TEAP FC is an indication that private sector are beginning to pick interest in sports.

He said the involvement of the private sector in the management of football clubs would encourage accountability which was not usually the case with government clubs where indolence was encouraged most of the time.

"To me, I think this is a new phase we are starting altogether and I pray that we sustain it because this is the only way we can develop our football.

"All the things that use to make our football seem not to be growing will soon begin to disappear because apparently as I speak today, it is a government thing and for government thing anything goes," Ikuru said.

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