DWINDLING FORTUNES OF THE SPORTS FESTIVAL

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Story by Coach Dan

The objectives were no doubt successfully met during the early years of the games as it broke all barriers and acted as unifying factors despite the different ethnic groups and religion. The problems of the Sports festival objectives began with the change of guards at the headship of Nigerian sports, particularly the retirement of Mogaji and Akioye.

The changes brought people who did not understand the intent of the original visionaries to the Sports Ministry. This was the beginning of the dwindling fortune of the sports festival.

Today the sports festival has lost its glamour and and it is now for the highest bidder. Suddenly the U17 and the intermediate categories that were the bedrock of the sports festival have been removed and thrown open for all comers.

The essence of the festival have been lost, taken over by narrow interests outside of talent discovery, talent display, healthy competition, and the social- cultural and economic spin-offs from hosting such festivals. Vacuums were created in the hosting of the biannual event as was seen after Lagos hosted in 2012, Cross River that was to host 2014 edition derailed denying Nigeria from using the event to mark 100 years of Nigeria amalgamation in 2014.

For six years the festival was in the wilderness and youths that would have been discovered resulted to crimes. Nigeria fortunes in sports dwindled.

Though, Abuja hosted the 19th edition in December of 2018, it did not meet yearnings of the people as it was an open events. The glamour, fanfare and discoveries of young, vibrants, athletes that will be’ groomed for the future was missing. Instead old and retiring athletes like Sule Olaleye, Funke Oshinaike, and the likes Who have spent over two decades in the festival took part.

47 years down the road, the aims and objectives of the founding fathers may have been truncated as the thrills, pomp and pageantry that made the competition thick have long be lost.


48 years down the road, the aims and objectives of the founding fathers may have been truncated as the thrills, pomp and pageantry that made the competition thick have long be lost. These days, the National Sports Festival has been bastardized.

States now poach athletes, cheat and use ineligible athletes. Because of the win at all cost syndrome, the junior and intermediate cadres have long been discarded.

Nsmmedia | Mazi Jaka

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