By Vincent Unogwu
Not every state has a culture of sports, but all states has a budget for it! The NSF is around the corner, let’s open our eyes to these realities. Many states are battling with raising athletes to compete under their banner, starting from the elimination in team events. The crux of the matter here is what has been the policy put on ground by the state sports ministry or council under a designated commissioner doing or did that will give them a pool of players to harvest talents? Many states has only a civil service structure for sports without a corresponding program to actually engage the staff and developed the youths in their chosen sports. It is quiet funny, that many states have huge budget for football and in recent times let’s say basketball, a budget which if a fraction of percentage is allocated to other sport will bring a total turn around, like the center like the states, football took it all!
Now let’s hit it! Some states exits for more than 3 decades, with the youths championing political changes and voting leaders into power, yet they don’t have a standard stadium to show their commitment to youths interest! Many states have no tracks, no indoor halls nor any pavilion committed to sports! Yet they have commissioners that come and go, they have governors that come and go! And here we are when such national events kicks in, they will draw players from all crannies of the country with promises of financial largesse. Just to save their face.
Is time, we xray the truth about what we plan for our youths. Those who don’t have the youths in mind should not have business in sports. If you worried about education, you will be concern about sport, because through sports, the youths will get scholarships, if you are concerned about violence free society, then you will care about sport, because through sports the youths will find a good meaning to life, and if you care about employment, you will surely put forward sports, as sport is a medium of job creation! But we have sports administrators who don’t have the youths in mind, yet they are appointed or elected as sports association chairmen, as commissioners, and even as presidents of some federations without legacy nor vision for the sector or segment they manage!
We complain so much of our sports federations shortcomings, now this is a time to show the difference in your level or capacity, as a coach, a state chairman, a zonal representative or a commissioner or director of sports! Either for your individual sport or to sports in your level in general!
Engaged the corporate entities that are making profits in your jurisdiction, let them sponsor and support your activities and participation, especially in the biannual national sports festival! It is not a thing of proposal and lobbying, it is a legal factor compelling them to invest a percentage of their profit into Corporate Social Responsibilities! And sports and youths is the one of the main target of this provision, so why? Why can’t we get companies sponsoring States contingents! All corporate entities and companies are located in a specific state! They make billions of profits yet they can not commit a million to the youths of the states going for a national event! The commissioner of sports of should sponsor bills in states houses of assemblies compelling profit making organization to contribute to sports development in their states!
This is a new decade, an Olympic year, let’s have the best of what we can have by doing the best we can do! But it will only take those who share your vision to value your mission! Our prayers are for this NSF to be sustained, through this we see the rise of academies, junior clubs and severance packages for athletes in many sports. The engagement of coaches will also be solidified. Sports Facilities will draw attention and the sector will grow! Indeed let the light keep burning!
Vincent Unogwu is a Public Affairs Analyst.