WHY NIGERIA MUST HAVE A MINISTER OF SPORTS
With the recent appointment of Mr. Solomon Dalong as Nigeria’s Minister for Youth and Sports, calls have continued to reverberate on where the minister’s focus should lie. One such voice is Sir Edward Pam Fom, President of Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF).
Speaking from South Africa, where the national Rugby team – the Black Stallions – are currently preparing for the Olympic qualifiers this weekend, Sir Fom noted that trends of the past saw appointees being more of Ministers of Football and less of Minister of Sports. Football-centric ministers in the past instigated the rise of football aside its global appeal, being the preferred and most invested sport in Nigeria inevitably kicking other sports to the background.
“Since we are in the era of change, a Minister who knows his onions and has an open mind towards other sports federations, should be given the chance to re-position the sector,” Sir Fom said.
Recently, there have been calls denouncing the appointment of a sports minister; rather allowing the management of the National Sports Commission (NSC), to administer affairs of the ministry through the commission. The NRFF president disagrees with this stance.
Edward Fom opines that school of thoughts clamouring for the scrapping of the office of the minister of sports, are “ignorant”. “The person who says a sports minister is necessary, doesn’t see the need have his shower in the morning,” Fom says, “because sports is part of a human being’s developmental process”.
Sir Fom believes the minister is politically empowered to initiate the required change necessary to drive growth and development which should not be left to the management of the Sports Commission alone.
Fom advocates against an ongoing trend whereby primary and secondary schools do not have at least a football field. The NRFF president believes a football pitch should be a “requirement” for the establishment of a school. “Any school that doesn’t have playing pitch,” he states, “you ‘cancel it out’”.
Put in another way, Fom takes the hard stance that the operational license of schools without such basic facility, should be revoked.
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