By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone, Senator Shehu Sani has opined that for Nigerian sports to attain the desired height, there is need for government to have a change of attitude towards sporting activities in Nigeria.
The Senator made the disclosure during his acceptance speech shortly after receiving an Award of Excellence from the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN) in Kaduna on Monday.
Comrade Senator wondered why sports are being treated merely as a game in Nigeria, rather than as a multi-billion Naira business that it ought to be, stressing the need to have a national sports conference in Nigeria.
According to him, men and women who served Nigeria in sports are allowed to suffer in pains and die in penury while footballers that was so cherished when in the field who brought honour are allowed to die in poverty.
“We have not invested in sports and we want to reap gold. Sports should be seen as an avenue for job creation.
“In those days, our teams Enugu Rangers, Pillars, Kwara Bombers, UNTL, New Nigerian, Prisons all were teams we grew up to cherish. Today we have departed from that part.
“It is unfortunate that the young people are no longer interested in the Nigeria National League compare to the love they have for the foreign leagues, such as Laliga, Premier League and others.
Our young people know all the players in Madrid, man u and barca. They know their birthdays and when their wives give birth but they don’t know the ranking of Nigerian teams.
“Our young people even dump their names born with and adopt names of players.
“Our national team only supported when they win, if they lose nobody goes to welcome them” he lamented.
Senator Sani opined that as art of his contribution to moving sports forward all over the country, a bill he sponsored has reached advanced stage in the Senate.
He implored Nigeria Government to treat sports like a business, saying sporting activities is an avenue to create employment opportunities for the teeming youth.
Also speaking on the pension system for the Nigerian Sports ambassadors who have served the nation in their various capacity, the Lawmaker said the Pension Commission Act must be amended to give people who served this country a life benefit.
According to him, the bill which is aimed at decentralization of National Institute of Sports (NIS) is to have it decentralized in all zones, noting that the bill has passed second reading and when passed, NIS would help in developing sports all over the country.
“We must devise ways to give pensions to our players who wore the national jersey.
“If you must appoint a doctor as Minister of Health, a professional sports personality should also be appointed for sports.
“If we invest in sports, it would provide opportunities for our young men and women. If we invest, we would reap more gold at international outings.
“National Stadium Surulere is left in disrepair. For over three to four decades, a section of Sir Ahmadu Bello Stadium (ABS), Kaduna is left uncompleted.
“For now we are only interested in results without investments” he stressed.
Senator Sani called on government at all levels to stop appointing politicians as ministers and commissioners of sports and commended Sports Writers Association for persevering and keeping the flags flying in spite of challenges.