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Isn’t Ndanusa biting off more than he can chew?

But today the news in town is that another Dr. Amos Adamu is gradually evolving and if care is not taken, sports in Nigeria would…

But today the news in town is that another Dr. Amos Adamu is gradually evolving and if care is not taken, sports in Nigeria would be the worst for it. Few months back, the former Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Dr. Amos Adamu was the most hated sports administrator in the country simply because he was everywhere but nothing tangible happened as far as sports development in the country was concerned. At the time he was the DG of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Adamu was FIFA and CAF executive member, President of WAFU, was said to be the man calling the shots at both the NFF and NPL.  In fact, at a point even when a ‘no nonsense’ man like Col. Musa Muhammed held sway as minister of sports, Adamu was the defacto minister of sports. Nothing happened without his consent. Several attempts to dethrone him failed because he had the wherewithal to subdue his opponents. It was not just about money but political sagacity on the part of the erudite sports administrators. He was removed as DG of NSC only when it became obvious that grossly incompetent and equally corrupt officers were using him as alibi for their misdemeanors.  I, at times sympathized with Adamu because he never knew anything about some of the offences Nigerians blamed on him.

When Adamu left, most Nigerians, especially those who believe in division of labour heaved a sigh of relief. It was said that Nigeria did not fare well in sports because too much power was concentrated in one person. It is therefore disturbing to learn that the minister of sports is consciously aspiring to be another Dr. Amos Adamu. For those who don’t know, our amiable Engineer Sani Ndanusa before his ministerial appointment was the president of Nigeria Tennis Federation. Even as he has been elevated to the position of minister, he is still the president of the federation. In fact his re-election took place in his absence because he was at the federal executive council meeting.  Although it is said what is good for the goose is good for the gander, attempts by the Chairman of DAAR Communications, Chief Raymond Dakpoesi to get it done the minister’s way  almost hit the rocks until he threatened to pull out of the federation he had willingly accepted to assist with his influence and money.  The man who is minister of sports in Nigeria is currently Chairman of the NSC, President of Tennis Federation, Vice-President of Africa Tennis Federation, and now he is said to be eyeing presidency of Nigeria Olympic Committee.

In other climes where sports is taken seriously, nobody will ever contemplate what we are hearing today but this is Nigeria where everything unthinkable is possible. Public office holders, especially Civil servants are not supposed to head such sensitive associations. Until recently, Engineer Habu Gumel, ‘our senior colleague’ was the Director of facilities, President Nigeria Volleyball federation, President Nigeria Olympic Committee and as if that was not enough, he was also involved in volleyball administration at the Olympics level. I hate to criticize a senior colleague in publicly, otherwise, I would have said Gumel’s reign did not bring about the desired improvement in Nigerian volleyball. The government owned stadia too suffered serious neglect and it is for this reason that Nigeria is finding it hard to raise six stadiums to host a world cadet championship. Gumel must have been overwhelmed but his experience is not sufficient enough to deter a serving minister who is ready to supervise the sports ministry and also head as many associations as possible. Where then is the division of labour? Besides, where is he going to get the stamina to tackle the numerous challenges before him? Is this not a classical case of an avaricious individual biting off more than he can chew?

All I know is that the alleged move by the minister is potentially dangerous because already it is said to have brought uneasy calm among the newly constituted federations. It is said Ndanusa is relying on his DG, Dr. Patrick Ekeji who under studied Dr. Amos Adamu’s political maneuverings for so many years, to realize his political ambition. Unfortunately, the open secret is that efforts so far made by Ekeji seem to be futile because presidents of the sports federations are not favourably disposed to the idea. It is therefore a case of the builder using his own hands to destroy what it cost him energy, time and money to build. Ndanusa painstakingly constituted the federations but if it is true that he wants to be elected NOC president against all odds, he is going to be the same person that would put them asunder.

In my candid opinion, the task of leading the sports ministry alone is daunting. If I were the minister, I would have happily relinquished the position of president of tennis federation to a competent disciple of mine. I would have even resigned as vice-president of Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) to concentrate fully on my ministerial responsibility. This may sound like advising a glutton to throw his food to the dogs but there is sense in it. If the minister refuses to lay off some of his responsibilities, he may end up being a stumbling block to Nigerian sports. Instead of developing sports in line with Yar’Adua’s 7 point agenda, he would be seen setting off fires that would ultimately consume what is left of Nigerian sports. If that happens, he will not be better than his kinsman Barrister Abdulrhaman Gimba, who came and led sports in Nigeria by the nose. Ndanusa mustn’t be everywhere by himself to serve Nigerian sports.