NFF President, Gusau Describes SWAN As the Backbone Of Sports Development
NFF President, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has described the Sports writers Association of Nigeria as the backbone of Sports development in the country.
He made the statement at a One-Day Capacity Building programme organized by the Sports Without Borders Development Association (SWIBODA) held in Kano state, North West Nigeria.
The 40th President of the Nigerian Football Federation was represented by the Northwest Board member and Kano state FA Chairman, Dr. Shareef Rabi’u Inuwa Ahlan.
Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau who highlighted some of the achievements recorded by the outfit in the soccer game both in Nigeria and beyond also traced the history of the association which was founded in 1964, four years after the Independence of Nigeria with the sole aim of promoting sports and socio-cultural values.
Gusau applauded the association for its contributions to promoting sporting activities, especially the round leather game.
The NFF President used the avenue to express his happiness for honouring the occasion and said his door will remain open to members of the Sportswriters Association of Nigeria.
Others who spoke at the event included the Chairman of Kano State Sports Commission, Dr, Ibrahim Galadima, and Oba of Yoruba in Kano, Muritala Engineer Alimi Otisese, and Kano NUJ Chairman, Abbas Ibrahim among others.
Reported by Mubarak Isma’il Abubakar Madungurum; Edited by Sani Yarima
Change of Ehimiaghe: CSED, Naija Netball Stakeholders Kick Against NNFA Trustee, Other’s Actions
The Community Sports and Educational Development CSED Initiative and Naija stakeholders have kicked against the NNFA Trustee of CSED Initiative and sport for change activist, Cornelius Ehimiaghe.
Members of the Naija Netball Stakeholders have condemned the brazen actions of some interlopers, Dr. Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko and Dr. Henry Nzekwu who allegedly illegally registered the Nigeria Netball Federation (NNF).
The Naija Netball Stakeholders view the action of the so-called President and General Secretary of NNF as an illegal action that violates the principle of justice and Fair play.
An aggrieved Mr. Ehimiaghe in a statement issued to journalists stated that these two persons have been imposed on the netball stakeholders by the top hierarchy of the Sports Ministry, who failed Nigerians in conducting their developmental and supervisory role in respect of netball, in the past one decade.
“Now that they have seen the gradual progress of “PROJECT 2027” (CSED Initiative program of making one million Nigerian school girls to be aware of netball), they are now trying to be a clog in the wheel of progress.
Naija Netball Stakeholders see the recent move by Dr. Esther Aluko and her backers as a desperate attempt to further their personal interest in being relevant in the sports sector in Nigeria.
As they do not have any major contribution they have made to the development of grassroots sports in Nigeria, apart from relying on the goodwill of their warped principals, to short-change the Nigerian taxpayers, at whose expense they have lived throughout their more than thirty years of being involved in sport in Nigeria.
Members of Naija Netball stakeholders expressed their disappointment with the way some friends and associates of principal officers of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and the NOC have been allowed to hijack the development of grassroots sports in the country, to the detriment of the Nigerian athletes and taxpayers.
“We the stakeholders sent a petition letter to the Honourable Minister of Youths and Sport on 26th January 2023, complaining about the illegality that has been perpetuated in Nigeria’s netball in the past decade. Instead of investigating our allegation, the next thing we know is that Dr. Henry Nzekwu who is a bosom friend of Mr. Sunday Dare (the current Minister of Youth and Sports), is now the President of the Nigeria Netball Federation.”
More worrying is the fact that Dr. Aluko who since October 2021 fooled Nigerians to believe that she is the General Secretary of an unregistered NNF, is now calling the shot at the NNF (Nigeria Netball Federation).
“This is the same Dr. Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko who contested for the post of General Secretary of the NOC in December 2022, as a representative of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HNF).”
Mr. Ehimiaghe further stated: “this is the same Dr. Esther Aluko who lied to Nigerians that basketball stunted the growth and development of netball in Nigeria. But in December 2022, she used mercenaries from other sports to demonstrate netball at the NSF in Asaba.
“This is the same Dr. Aluko who lied during a television interview on 2 April 2022, by misleading sports journalists to believe that AFFAN built the first netball court in Nigeria. This woman is so desperate to be relevant in Nigerian sports that she would not mind selling her country (Nigeria) for a bowl of porridge.” He alleged.
Mr. Ehimiaghe noted that Dr. Esther Aluko keep flaunting the fact that she played netball in the 1960 and 70s before she converted to handball.
However, Mr. Ehimiaghe also argued that if netball was that important to Dr. Esther Aluko, what did she do to develop netball as a civil servant; where she spent more than 30 years and rose to the position of Director before she retired from service a few years ago? He emphasized.
“Funny enough, I was the person who brought the problem in netball to Dr. Esther Aluko, as the President of AFFAN. I did so in 2019. If I am lying, you can ask her to confirm or deny this.” Regarding Dr. Nzekwu, Mr. Ehimiaghe stated that the current Sports Minister has given him roles to play in the past in football and basketball. Though we do not know if the current Minister is behind Dr. Nzekwu’s current elevation to the position of President of NNF, we the Naija Netball Stakeholders are not going to accept this.
“Na only Dr. Nzekwu be the competent sports administrator wey dey Nigeria?” The one-million-dollar question that Naija Netball Stakeholders want to ask the “principalities and powers of Nigerian sport is: “is the role of sports developers at the national level only reserved for former Sports Ministry/NOC staff?” If not, can any other citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, aspire to play a role in developing grassroots sports in Nigeria, without being the bosom friend, girlfriend, and boot lickers of the principal staff of the Sports Ministry and NOC?
“It would be recalled that CSED Initiative have being at the forefront of trying to revive netball in Nigeria. Since 2019, they challenged the authority of the former General Secretary of the unregistered NNF, Hellen Manufor, who dribbled the NOC and Sports Ministry staff to believe that the NNF was a registered Federation.
“While the principal officers of the Sports Ministry and NOC were in their deep slumber, one Cornelius Ehimiaghe brought the deceit of Hellen Manufor to the attention of the former Nigeria Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, to the misdeeds of Hellen Manufor. Barrister Solomon Dalung ordered the NOC to investigate the grievances of the CSED Initiative in respect of how netball was being run in Nigeria.
“Instead of doing so, the then General Secretary of NOC only wrote a wishy-washy email to CSED Initiative. But behind the scenes, two members of staff of the Sports Ministry and NOC were rewarded with a place in the illegal NNF Board that was handpicked by Her Royal Majesty (Hellen Manufor) in May 2019,” he revealed.
Mr. Ehimiaghe further pointed out that: “It is only in Nigeria that people are appointed into the Board of a Sports Federation that is not even registered with the regulatory corporate affairs regulator.”
Ehimiaghe, however, stated that since nobody seem to care about the development of netball in Nigeria, CSED Initiative took the bull by the horn, and in February 2020, they built the first netball court in Nigeria this millennium, at IDPs Camp Uhoghua (Edo State).
Also In March 2020, CSED Initiative went further by training 24 Nigerians to be certified as Netball Africa Coaches.
“The first time this has happened in the history of Nigeria. To date, CSED Initiative has trained an additional 216 Nigerian P.E. Teachers/youths to become Netball Coaches.
“These pieces of training were conducted in Utoka (Edo State), Mosogar (Delta State), Uyo (Akwa Ibom State), and Enugu (Enugu State). Yenogoa (Bayelsa State) and Jalingo (Taraba State).”
Mr. Ehimiaghe further stated that CSED Initiative does not only train teachers in netball, but they have also embedded safeguarding in their training of these coaches.
He lamented that the NOC/Sports Ministry in Nigeria does not even have a safeguarding protocol, not to talk of implementing one for Nigerian athletes.
Furthermore, Mr. Ehimiaghe explained that: “at the end of our two days basic netball training, CSED Initiative usually provide free netball starter packs (netball balls, finger-held whistles, two sets of netball training bibs and two netball rims/nets) to participants of their training events.
“The attendees of these free training are also provided with a decent lunch. One of the Naija Netball Stakeholders (Edward Edema) stated: “I am aware that CSED Initiative delivered equipment for the training of 30 P.E. Teachers in FCT (Abuja) to Dr. Esther Aluko but she diverted it to pursue her own personal/AFFAN interest, with a view of curry favoring of her principal in NOC (Engineer Habu Gumel),” he alleged.
“This is a typical example of how the personal interest of an individual is greater than that of an entire community. It is an open secret that even with their access to public funds, the Ministry of Sports and the NOC have not trained one Netball Africa-certified Coach.
According to him, “more laughable is Dr. Esther Aluko’s recent claim that the target of the NNF is to participate in the 2024 All Africa Games in Accra.
Mr. Ehimiaghe stated that: “Dr. Esther Aluko is supposed to be a Ph.D. holder, but some of the views she has expressed in respect of netball in the past year, raise concerns about how she obtained her doctorate.
“Does she and her illegal president of the NNF think that other countries who have been playing netball regularly in the past few decades are just going to go into hiding because they are going to play Nigeria in the future?”
Mr. Ehimiaghe advised Dr. Esther Aluko and the NNF that they should learn how to crawl before they think of walking or even taking part in a race. Mr. Ehimiaghe stated: “even with Dr. Esther Aluko and Dr. Henry Nzekwu being highly connected to the authorities in the Sports Ministry/NOC because of them being former staff, there is no guarantee that they are going to remain in their current position.
“This is because CSED Initiative and Naija Netball Stakeholders are currently in the process of consulting with their members and solicitors with a view of taking this matter to Court. You cannot build something on nothing,” he threatened.
When contacted through telephone by SAHEL REPORTERS, Dr. Esther Aluko described CSED as a developmental NGO for different sports not only netball, emphasizing that the NNF was registered by the federal government of Nigeria.
BAL 2023: Igoche Mark Hails Kwara Falcons’ Performance
The Initiator of the Mark D Ball Basketball Championship, Mr. Igoche Mark has hailed Kwara Falcons’ bravery as the team crashed out of the Basket Africa League, BAL.
The Ilorin Based team and Nigerian Champions, made their continental debut but failed to win any of their five games in BAL 2023.
Mark, in a message to the team, described their continental outing as superb, magnificent, and majestic; Insisting that the team’s performance shouldn’t be about results but the experience gained.
“I salute the bravery of Kwara Falcons, Nigeria’s representative at BAL. Your outing was superb,
magnificent, and majestic. As a player and a lover of the game, I was thrilled by your performance, as results matter less when compared to the experience gained.” Mark stated.
The statement berated the lack of domestic basketball in Nigeria for years, which in turn has affected the team’s output.
“Sadly, the lack of domestic games in recent times played a huge role in the outcome of results at BAL. The team could have done better if the domestic league of basketball was still alive, as it would have provided that competitiveness before going to BAL.
“Since the last Mark D Ball Championship, no competitive game has been played which would have made the team form that synergy among the players. You did well in the continent, but we have failed in the aspect of developing the game locally.”
Continuing, Mark added “In your opening game against Rwanda Energy Group, you fought back from a 12-point deficit in the second quarter to tie 31-31 in the early third quarter. This singular action shows that we have the potentials that need to be refined.”
“The New Face of Basketball is proud of your prowess, especially taking the fighting spirit displayed in last year’s Mark D Ball Basketball Championship to the continent. This will further spur us to do more for domestic basketball in Nigeria.” Mark stated.
PHE Teachers Receive Basic Training On Netball By CSED Initiative In Taraba
As part of an effort to revive Netball in Nigeria, a Non-governmental organization Community Sports and Educational Development CSED Initiative has organized a two-day basic training on netball for Physical Health Education PHE Teachers selected from various secondary schools in Taraba State.
The training which was sponsored by the CSED Initiative in conjunction with the Taraba State Sports Council was held at the indoor sports Hall of the Jolly Nyame Stadium Jalingo with over thirty participants.
At the closing ceremony, the National Coordinator of the Community Sports and Educational Development CSED Initiative, Edema Fuludu expressed deep concern over the state of Netball in the country.
The former Super Eagles Player, Fuludu urged governments at all levels and the Nigeria Netball Federation NNF to ensure that adequate measures are being put in place to develop netball just as in other African countries.
He said the training was aimed at empowering the girl child through sports, adding that participants would be provided with starter packs that include Two netballs, two sets of kits, and whistles among others.
According to Fuludu, sports as a tool of social cohesion is playing a significant role in improving the level of literacy among the girl child, hence the need for critical stakeholders in the sporting industry to assist the organization to achieve its set objectives.
The National Coordinator of the CSED Initiative, Edema Fuludu, however, explained that the organization which was established in 2015 carried out similar training in some states of the federation that comprised Enugu, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa among others to improve the livelihood of the girl child.
Commenting, the Taraba State Director of Sports Council, George Shitta commended CSED Initiative for the training which he said will go a long way in equipping the participants with the basics of Netball.
Because of the important role played by sports as a unifying factor, Shitta urged private organizations and individuals to complement the government’s effort by investing more in sports to take the youths out of the streets.
He said the council will consolidate the gains of the training through proper monitoring and ensure the effective utilization of the starter packs by the benefiting schools.
On his part, the Director of Sports, Taraba state ministry for Basic and secondary education, Mr. Affos Musa Emmanuel promised described the gesture by the CSED Initiative as commendable, recalling that the NGO had recently organized a similar training for about 80 secondary school pupils on Badminton in the state.
Some of the participants Diana Sam-Aleng from GDSS Gembu, and Lydia Simon from GDSS Wukari-East in an interview with sports journalists, commended the organizers and assured that the training received will be stepped down to the students at the grassroots.
The training also featured health tips by the CSED Initiative Coordinator in Akwa Ibom State, Grace Acaha, and the presentation of certificates to the participants.
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