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Can NSC get legal backing under Bio?

He then appointed Engineer Bala Bawa Ka’oje as the first Chairman of the Commission, who also doubled as the Minister of Sports. Dr. Amos Adamu…

He then appointed Engineer Bala Bawa Ka’oje as the first Chairman of the Commission, who also doubled as the Minister of Sports.

Dr. Amos Adamu was also appointed the administrative head of the agency as the Commission’s Director General, holding sway until November 2008 when he was removed from office.

The Commission was first set up in 1962 as the National Sports Council, and in 1971 it became the National Sports Commission.

The vision of the founders was to use sports as a tool for national integration, nation-building, and friendship with other nations of the world, as well as engaging the youths in a more positive and productive manner through sporting activities.

On the other hand, the mission was to develop the sector to provide continuous improvement of quality of life for the entire citizens of Nigeria, to the extent that Nigerian would be recognized as one of the leading sporting countries of the world.

In spite of the Commission’s long life span, it has not got the legal backing to enhance its existence, and it was in 2008 the Commission under Ka’oje initiated a bill to give legal teeth to its existence as the highest sports regulatory body in Nigeria.

From that time till date, several efforts have been made by the Commission to get the bill passed without success, with the only development being the passage of the bill by the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye told Trustsports in a telephone interview that members of the House of Representatives have completed their work on the bill and in short period of time the NSC would become a legal establishment.

Elegbeleye, who is also the House Deputy Committee Chairman on Sports, stated that the bill which was passed by the House a few months ago is now before the Senate awaiting their inputs and possible passage of the bill.

“The House of Representatives have passed the bill some months ago and it has been sent to the Senate to concur, and if that is done, the bill will become a law, making the NSC a body established by law”, Elegbeleye stated.

But efforts to get comments from the Chairman Senate Committee on Sports Senator Heineken Lokpobiri on the matter proved abortive as any time our reporter called either his number was busy or he refused to pick his call.

In another move to reposition the commission for higher performance, Dr. Adamu the man who had enjoyed the privilege of being the longest serving sports administrator in the land was fired in November 2008 by the Yar’adua administration to pave the way for the overhaul of the National Sports Commission.

The move was also aimed at prompting the political will to tackle the perennial problems thwarting sports development in Nigeria.

But while government embarked on the exercise to clean up the agency and reposition it for improved performance, it is yet to give its all to ensure quick passage of the bill establishing the National Sports Commission which is the bedrock for rapid sports development in the land.

During his first interaction with sports writers association in Abuja last week, new Minister of Sports and Chairman National Sports Commission Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio said he was aware of the pending NSC bill at the National Assembly and was ready to liaise with the lawmakers to get the bill passed.

According to the minister, he would first study the document to see if he could suggest additional clauses to it or concord with the existing provisions.

President of Taekwondo Federation of Nigeria Jonathan Nnaji urged the National Assembly to speed work on the bill so as to empower the National Sports Commission to do its job of development sports in Nigeria.

Also speaking on the matter, President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation Chief Austin Edeze, who noted that the passage of the bill would raise the tempo of sports in the country, appealed to the National Assembly to expedite action on the bill to enhance rapid development of the sector.

Edeze, who stated that the nation’s sports will be better off with the passage of the bill, however advised to the lawmakers to take time to do a thorough job that would last the test of time.

“I don’t even know why the bill should be delayed, but if the delay is because they want to do a thorough job, then there is no need passing a hasty bill that will be full of faults. So the National Assembly should hasten the passage of the bill to give legal framework and enabling environment for operators to perform at maximum level”, he stated.

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