Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has said that the restoration of the governing system of the National Sport Commission (NSC) remains the best way of managing sports in Nigeria.
Bolaji, who spoke to SportingSun in Abuja, argued that having an NSC with an elected Director General for a guaranteed, renewable eight or 10 years period of tenure will not only be the best option, but will also turn around the declining fortune of sports in the country.
He further lamented what he called the disturbing state of Nigerian league, stressing that he is feeling sad to see the League Management Company (LMC) he laboured to put in place continue with the progress and successes recorded initially.
Asked why has it become impossible to get it right again in Nigerian sports since he left office as the Sports Minister, he replied: “What is happening in Nigerian sports is very unfortunate. But, I have to say that sustainability is always an issue and it pains to see that we will take one step forward and two steps backwards.
“Even if I have stayed till the end of President Goodluck Jonathan government, I would still have to leave the saddle. There was no guarantee that whatever we have started will be continued.
“I think one pertinent question we need to ask ourselves is the kind of governance structure we need to evolve that will make it difficult for some of the gains, however marginal, we have recorded, to be eroded when the proponents of such ideas are no longer in position of authority to manage it.
“It is a major question we have to ask ourselves. For me, I strongly believe that the best way of managing sports in Nigeria is still through the governing system of the National Sport Commission (NSC).
“Having an NSC with an elected Director General for a guaranteed, renewable period of tenure of eight or 10 years for me will still be the best option. It will give sufficient length of time to start something and see it to a logical conclusion,” he said.
Speaking further, the former Minister said: “It pains to see that the Nigerian league stayed that long before starting. It is very painful to see something I sacrificed and worked so hard for facing this kind of threat. This, for me is what I considered to be my best achievement.
“I restructured the league, got the League Management Company (LMC) registered with an independent body to manage it as business. Things were working as planned to the extent that people are going out at night to watch our league matches at different parts of the country