Between Abdullahi And Danagogo


When former Sports Minister and Chairman National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi, was removed from office recently and replaced by Dr Tamuno Danagogo, many sports stakeholders kicked against the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan but some sports lovers felt that it was a welcome development.

The expectation is that with the appointment of Danagogo as the new Sports Minister, Nigeria’s sports must fare far better than where his predecessor left it, having performed meritoriously since he became sports minister in May 2012.  During Abdullahi’s tenure, Nigeria’s sports witnessed tremendous improvement especially in the area of football. Nigeria’s Super Eagles won the last Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Our Golden Eaglets won the FIFA U-17 World Cup which was held last year in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, while home-based Eagles clinched the third position at the last Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.

Aside this, Nigeria also qualified for the 2014 Brazil World Cup under Abdullahi, and one cannot forget how Nigeria emerged the winner at the last Inaugural Africa Youth Athletics Championship held in Delta State in March last year. Nigerian athletes under Abdullahi also performed creditably. The achievement of Blessing Okagbare who represented the country at the 2013 International Association Athletics Federation World Championship (IAAF) held in Russia is worthy of mention because she won two medals for the country. Credit must partly go to Abdullahi who carefully selected experts and professionals to support the hosts for the success of the last biennial National Sports Festival held in Lagos in 2012.

The Abuja National Stadium that was in state of disrepair but Abdullahi gave it a massive facelift before he was removed from office.With these achievements by the Abdullahi administration, Danagogo has to consolidate on them. But one of the major challenges before Danagogo is to ensure that Nigeria’s Super Eagles excel in the forthcoming FIFA World.

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Aside this, the new sports minister should ensure that Nigeria also wins many medals in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland.

The last Olympic Games in London was a huge flop for Team Nigeria as the country failed to win a single medal at the biggest sporting event. Danagogo must ensure we break from that ugly past.

Some sports observers accused Abdullahi of giving football all the attention to the detriment of other sports. Danagogo must see this allegation as challenge and give equal support to all sports during his tenure. He should not just reduce himself to football minister. Other sports deserve equal attention just as football.

Many Nigerians believe that apart from football that gives Nigeria honour, sports like Basketball, Table Tennis, Athletics, Boxing and other team sports can equally bring laurels to Nigeria if adequate attention is given to these sports.

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