Chess, Scrabble Federations Face Sack
01 Feb 2012
By Olawale Ajimotokan

Supervising Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has canvassed for the streamlining of the national sports associations in order to save costs and make them (federations) to be efficient.

Abdullahi, who is the substantive Minister of Youth Development, made the submission during the public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on Sports when the NSC appeared before it to defend its budget for year 2012.

According to the minister, the current 37-federation structure is superfluous because the country was not in position to competently fund all of them.

He questioned the relevance of federations like Chess and Scrabble, stressing that the National Sports Commission (NSC) can derive comparative advantage by streamlining these federations to a manageable 10 sports associations that can get results for the country.

He said the rest can continue to exist if they can source their own funds instead of depending on government’s subvention.

“We have all kinds of federations that we don’t even know whether they are hobbies or sports. We should be known for something instead of 37 sports federations. Do we need to give funds to sports like Chess, Ludo and Scrabble which are hobbies and not sports? Let’s ask ourselves, as a country though we have potentials for Ayo Olopon (Ayo), what benefit will Nigeria derive in funding it?” Abdullahi queried.

According to him, the Sports Commission has resolved to go into wider consultation and reach a consensus on the sports that Nigeria can focus on because “there is no point spreading resource so thin on every sport because you want to carry everybody along.”

There is always a concern about policy sustainability in Nigeria sports. Even as the Minister is proposing to streamline these federations, a new administration may step in later to reverse such decision.

But despite such concern, the Minister said the NSC is bound to make the streamlining policy work, in the sense that if it is successful, which ever new office holder will be proud to associate with it.

Similarly, he described the endless power tussle among factions in Nigerian football as ‘political’, and not legal. He insisted that the NSC will soon bring the warring factions to a round table discussion to talk out their differences.

Two weeks ago, a federal high court of competent jurisdiction, threw Nigerian football into confusion by pronouncing the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Nigeria Premier League (NPL) as aberration.


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