Anyone wondering why the authorities in Abuja find it difficult to
give Nigeria the required leadership should also consider the imperious
inclinations of many of those in authority over smaller jurisdictions.
Consider the mess made of the national sports federation elections by
those acting for or in the interest of the minister of sports, Mr.
For a nation that won only one bronze medal at the last Olympic Games
despite sending the largest delegation of 77 athletes in the nation’s
history, the shame and scandal flowing from the elections should not
have been. Remember that the most symbolic recollections of the Rio
Olympic Games were not of success on the field of play, but the
caricature of the country’s organisational capacities. The sordid story
of the country not being able to ferry its stranded football team from
the United States to Brazil. The US carrier, Delta Airlines got a good
bounce on its PR when it intervened to help the stranded Nigerian
footballers after their refugee status became a running tale on CNN.
Also, remember that the kits for the athletes arrived Rio just days to the end of the tournament.
For many Nigerians, the most captivating image of the games was that
of Mr. Dalung not posing with victorious athletes, but of the minister
posing with a tray of food at the cafeteria of the athletes.
Against the background of the sordid record of the present sporting
authorities, it is thus astounding that an opportunity for Nigeria to
repair the damage was simply elections.
It is bewildering that one of the country’s most respected athletic
coaches, Brown Ebewele who was nominated as the representatives of the
coaches was removed and replaced reportedly at the instruction of those
acting in the name of the minister of sports. His replacement was
someone that did not show initial interest in the preliminary election
done among the coaches.
The country is today at a risk of being ejected from the
International Basketball Federation, FIBA after those acting in the name
of the minister held parallel elections outside the regulations as
specified by the international basketball body.
Many forthright aspirants and nominees like Ebewele who were seen as
people who could act independently were disqualified from the elections
even after they had been nominated by their respective constituencies.
In some cases, some nominees were asked to go and get their tax papers,
and while they were about that, disqualification lists were rolled out
almost entirely removing all independent minded persons.
Will it be a shock that with the attitude of Mr. Dalung’s minders
that Nigeria would continue to reel in squalor when other less endowed
countries are rocking in sporting glory?
The way the authorities at the Federal Ministry of Sports manipulated
the association elections is reflective of what happens in virtually
every other areas of our national life. Elections are manipulated even
at the lowest levels.
The continuing protests against the outcome of the All Progressives
Congress, APC local government election primaries in Lagos State depict
the seeming disinclination of local leaders to uphold the tenets of
Despite the application of carrot and stick, 15 of the 16
chairmanship aspirants on the platform of the party last Thursday went
on the streets to bemoan what they claimed as the imposition of a
candidate on them. The story is the same in most parts of the state
where primaries were held.
It is not just in Lagos, it is everywhere, even in the home. The
inclination by Nigerians to suppress the rights of individuals for the
purpose of allowing unfettered dominion is the basis of the problem of