Vanguard (Lagos)

22 January 2013

Nigerian Sports Need Special Intervention Fund, Says NOC President

Abuja — Alhaji Sani Ndanusa, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), on Monday in Abuja, stressed the need to have a Special Intervention Fund for Sports in Nigeria.

Ndanusa said at the 2012 Annual General Meeting and Stakeholders Consultative Forum of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), that there was no better time than now to ensure its introduction.

He said it was highly necessary for Nigeria to have such funding programme in place, to keep its place among the world's top sports nations.

"We cannot continue to wait for the regimented nature of our budgeting system to fund our sports, because no one waits for the other in the world of sports.

"The situation of our time has now shown us that we have to do something if we have to keep up with the others.

"Sports need money all-year round and for us to win at the Olympics and other Games, we need to constantly fund the game and provide money to train our athletes at all available sports events.

"But this can only be possible when we don't wait for the year of the Olympics or the All-Africa Games before we bring out money for athletes to the games.

"But a special intervention fund will take care of this, and our sports will suffer no more," the former Sports Minister said.

Ndanusa, who also heads the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), cited the Nigerian men wheelchair tennis team which qualified for the World Cup on Sunday in Kenya as an instance.

"But for the miracle of last-minute efforts which brought about the money to send the team to Kenya, the team might not have qualified.

"This is because their non-appearance in Kenya might have meant non-qualification for the World Cup in Turkey in May, and that is where they will be able to gain qualification points that will enhance their chances of qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"It thus means that we need as from now on the funds that we will need to spend on our qualification and participation at the Rio Games," he said.

Sen. Adamu Gumba, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Sports, agreed with Ndanusa on the need for the fund.

"There is the need to have a special intervention fund for sports because of the dynamic nature of sports. Nobody will wait for Nigerian sporting federations when planning their competitions.

"If you are serious, you plan ahead of time and move with them. But, if you are not serious, they will leave you aside and they might even fine you for failing to participate.

"So, it is absolutely necessary for us in Nigeria to think and look into having special funds that will provide funding at all times to move Nigerian sports forward," he said.

Gumba said the usual reliance on the annual budgeting system was not the solution.

"Federations need special funds that can take them beyond the financial year and that is the important thing that should be considered," he said.

The senator however added that the senate committee was not leaving the federations to the task but planned to implement the recommendations of last year's public hearing on sports.

"We are not leaving the federations alone to the task because our reports and recommendations after last year's public hearing on sports have not been abandoned.

"I assure you we will take it up and ensure that something must be done to ensure that we have funding available at all times to all federations to execute their national and international competitions.

The committee organised a public hearing in March 2012 on the downward trend of Nigerian sports in general and football in particular.(NAN)

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