31st December, 2013
As speculation is rife over President Goodluck Jonathan planned cabinet reshuffle, stakeholders in sports has called for continuity in the sector.
For the President, Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Ibrahim Muhammad, under the present leadership of the National Sports Commission (NSC), sports have witnessed a resurgence especially as grassroots level with special attention given to school sports, which came to fore at the last National School Sports Festival held in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Muhammad believes the Minister of Sports/ Chairman, NSC, Bolaji Abdulhai has shown that he is passionate about the grassroots sports with the setting up of a new board for the National Academicals Sports Committee (NASCOM) chaired by Yemi Idowu.
“I want to say that any alteration in the leadership of NSC will surely bring us back to where we were coming from. Since assumption of office, the Minister has displayed some seriousness in reviving the fortune of sports, and this became obvious when he attended the last National School Sports Festival. Never in the history of the games that a serving Minister will attend the championship and this alone has given us hope that in few years, we will get back to our glorious days in sports,” the NSSF boss said.
He continued: “Changing the leadership at this point in time will not help sports generally and it will be counter productive. So I want to appeal to the Presidency to allow this present Minister to carry on with what he had started so that in few years, Nigeria can return to its rightful place in the world.”
For Muhammad, the National School Sports Festival had a private sector support for the first time and this he believes was made possible by NASCOM, a body reconstituted by the Minister.
“For us at school sports, we will forever be grateful to the minister because in the history of school sports games, we have never had it so good like what we had in Ilorin. Sterling Bank single-handedly sponsored the games while Nestle also made it support at the game. So for us, NASCOM has been a blessing because they had shown that they are really partner in progress. I must commend the leadership of NASCOM led by Mr. Idowu, who has shown that they are ready to compliment the efforts of NSC in its programmes,” he added.
However, NASCOM boss, Idowu agrees with the NSSF boss, saying there is no point changing a winning team as the Minister and Director General have worked together to lift sports.
He listed some of the achievements of the present leadership of NSC, as winning the AFCON 2013 and FIFA U-17 World Cup, while Nigeria also returned to the global stage in athletics.