The Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Hon. Muhammed Buba Jajere, has said the committee will provide the right legal framework to help in addressing problems that have continued to derail sports development in Nigeria. Speaking to Trust Sports, the member representing Fune/Fika Federal Constituency in Yobe State spoke on his appointment, how the committee is planning to parley with all sports federations, the achievement of the D’Tigress in Kigali and the recent failure of the D’Tigress in the 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.
How is the House of Representatives Committee on Sports prepared to deliver on its assignment?
Thank you. I was appointed the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee but the standing committee is yet to be inaugurated. So, it is only the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the committee that have been appointed. Once the House reconvenes, I am sure all standing committees will be inaugurated and that is when we would begin to function fully. But I can assure you that the House Committee on Sports will be very very ready to discharge its duties in the best interest of sports in Nigeria. Personally, I am prepared for the task before me.
What are some of the urgent issues you think the committee would address when inaugurated?
Like I told you, the committee is ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, as soon as the whole committee is inaugurated, we would set in motion all necessary machinery to provide a solid legal framework that will address the problems that have continued to bedevil sports in Nigeria. I can assure you that we would invite all the sports federations and the relevant stakeholders to chart the way forward.
Do you think your committee will stand on any existing foundation?
I don’t think we will start from scratch. I am sure there are bills that are pending before the House or those passed but yet to be assented to. Such bills will be reconsidered and hopefully Mr President will assent to them. As you are aware, it is one thing to get bills passed but it is another thing to have them assented to by Mr. President. It is only when they are given assent by the President that they become instruments to work with. So, I am sure there is a lot of work for the committee to do once inaugurated.
What was your initial reaction when you received the news of your appointment as Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Sports?
When I received the news of my appointment, I was like how did it happen? What am I going to do in sports? As an engineer by profession, I was expecting to find myself in a committee that is related to my profession. However, I am not complaining. I am a sports enthusiast and I can assure that I will not fail to make my mark in the committee. I like all sports, especially football. So, as Deputy Chairman of the Committee, I will not be a passive member. I believe I have so much to offer to develop sports in Nigeria. I am sure others will also share in this optimism.
How satisfied were you with the presentation of the NFF leadership during the recent parley with the Chairman of the Committee?
When the interactive session was held, I was out of the country so I wasn’t in attendance. However, when I returned, my Chairman, Hon. Ekene Adams Abubakar, briefed me so I can say it was a fruitful meeting. I am sure that all the issues concerning the unpaid allowances of the Super Falcons will be resolved amicably. As a committee, we would encourage all sports federations to give priority attention to the welfare of their athletes.
Don’t you think by meeting with the NFF without other sports federations that will send out the wrong signal?
I understand what you mean but the Chairman in his wisdom called for the meeting with the NFF because of the pressing issue at hand. There is every need to avoid another national embarrassment over Super Falcons’ unpaid bonuses and allowances. Like I said earlier, once this committee is inaugurated, meetings will be held with all the sports federations. There will be no special treatment for any of the sports federations.
How is Yobe State going to benefit from your membership of this committee?
I am confident that by the time the committee takes off fully, my state is going to benefit immensely. Yobe State is backward especially in the area of sports but our Governor Mai Mala Buni is doing all he can to turn around the sports sector in the state. We have a professional football club, Yobe Desert Stars and Yobe Desert Flickers, the hockey team which is well known in Nigeria. We want to see what we can do within our limited capabilities to engender sports development in the state. Since charity begins at home, I won’t neglect my state when contributing to sports development at the national level.
Not long ago, D’Tigress won their fourth consecutive Afrobasket title. How happy are you with the achievement of the girls?
As a patriotic Nigerian, I feel really happy with the outstanding performance of D’Tigress. It is no mean achievement to win four titles in a row. All I can say is that the girls deserve to be celebrated. They should be given every necessary support to keep performing optimally. Their welfare must remain a thing of priority. By doing so, they will be motivated to achieve more. I also want to congratulate the Super Falcons. Even as they couldn’t go beyond the Round of 16 at the just concluded World Cup, the girls gave a good account of themselves. I am sure that with more support, they will do better in future.
You must be disappointed that D’Tigers are out of the race for another Olympic appearance in Paris…
I can say that D’Tigres did their best. Unfortunately, they crashed out of the qualifiers for the 2023 Paris Olympic Games on home soil. However, there is no need to keep crying over spilled milk. Tomorrow is another day. I believe D’Tigers will make amends in future. Therefore, I am sad that they failed to progress but I can’t say I am completely disappointed by their performance. If we still show them love, the players will surely overcome this recent setback and make us proud again.