Let’s Anchor Sports Development on School Sports, Ngerem Charges Jonathan

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Former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Mr. Dan Ngerem has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to task those managing the country’s sports to anchor all future sports activities on schools sports as it was the surest way to revive the sector.

According to Ngerem, who said he is pained by the seeming lack of proper preparation of the country’s athletes for the London 2012 Olympics, told Saturday Vanguard sports that sports activities should be restructured “from the local government through the state, zonal and finally national because that is your insurance for better performances in future and our conveyor belt of success.”

He frowned at the old practice of waiting till the last minute for any meaningful preparation to begin for major international sports events stressing, “This four year cycle of wasting huge sums of tax payers money (for a few short weeks) on an event we have not planned and primed our nation for should stop.”

The Imo-born businessman said there is no better time for president Jonathan to order for the restructuring of the sports sector than now that “Mr President has had an investiture as Grand Patron of NOC (Nigeria Olympic Committee).”

Arguing that allowing the sports sector to collapse was tantamount to destroying the future of Nigerian youths which will always come back to haunt the country, Ngerem averred that sports “is an avenue to teach, encourage and instill discipline and right behaviour in our up-and-coming young people,” adding, “unlike other Government pursuits, sports can attract funding from the private sector and other stakeholders if the right credible and self accounting platform is put in place.”

He stressed that “we can not keep accusing our youths of vices like cultism, armed robbery, and thuggery without providing alternatives like sports for diversion because all they see severally on our television and social media platforms is our ‘wasted’ generation (to paraphrase Prof Wole Soyinka’s the theatre of the absurd and corruption incorporated.”

He called on “all good and patriotic Nigerians (to) rise up to the challenge of the renegade few and help put a stop to this four year cycle of waste and mediocrity – and stop embarrassing Nigeria to our collective shame by performing dismally in comparison to the resources wasted.”

Ngerem who still serves in the Marketing Commission of the African Athletics Confederation, stressed that “any successes that will be recorded at the London Olympics will again be on the altar of individual athletes’ doggedness and desire to succeed and not as a result of any preparation, planning, strategy or ingenuity on the part of those charged with running sports in our country.”

In : Sports