By Godwin Bamigboye.
The Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owah Enoh assumed duties amidst speculations and narratives about his inexperience in Sports Administration.
I tried to avoid making comments earlier but I am compelled to make my inputs on whether Senator John Enoh will be a round peg in a round hole. As directed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to his appointed Ministers to hit the ground running, I saw the compliance by Senator Enoh. Guess what? He started by telling stories about his involvement in Sports. "I was a footballer in the past". He said, "I didn't lobby to become Minister of Sports Development". The Minister was sounding defensive. I believe he was doing so to prove a point to critics about his capacity to manage the Nigerian sports space effectively and efficiently. Whichever way it will go, time shall tell.
It is common knowledge that the headship of the Ministry of Sports has always been in the hands of Ministers who know little or sometimes almost nothing about sports. It has always been political patronage and compensation. Yes! Leadership of the country emerges through political affiliation and general elections. After victory in the polls, there is lobbying and sharing of appointments according to whatever procedures they may wish to adopt. I don't want to go into details. Whether we like it or not, by virtue of going through the constitutional processes or procedures, good or bad, the leaders emerge and it is their responsibility to lead us. If you get the wrong leadership, you will find yourself praying always, "Lord, have mercy". It keeps recurring unless you are lucky or favoured, as some people will like to put it. It is a vicious circle. We go round and round and end up chasing shadows and missing the substance. The stakeholders may have to go extra miles to change the narratives by participating in politics and who knows, such a stakeholder can become a Minister of Sports Development. Even this happens, such stakeholder will have to prove to his constituency that he can do it differently to their admiration. Let me tell you something; sometimes the people you call stakeholders may turn out to become very disappointing in their performance. However, I believe that a sports stakeholder should prove critics wrong if given opportunity to hold the political office of Minister of Sports Development. Let me quickly give an example of a stakeholder that in my perception for now is proactive and working towards ensuring improvement in Sports in Nigeria. I am talking about Honourable Ekene Adams, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports. With the advantage of hindsight, he is proactively leading his Committee in tackling issues that needs immediate intervention of the Legislature. He needs to keep the good works going but with a caution to look very well before he leaps. It is a simple language, let his Committee be careful to take the right and objective decisions always.
Let me navigate back to the issues bordering on the new Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh. I have discussed earlier that he is one of the political gladiators and he is among those favoured with an appointment. Don't tell me that he ought to be a graduate of Sports Science, Management or related fields. It could be an advantage but it is not the criteria for sharing of political offices. Sports is not the office of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation where you must be a Lawyer. On a serious note, the Civil Servants who are supposed to be technocrats who guide the political office holders have decided to relegate themselves to servant hood to a few rather than rendering service to the majority of citizens of the country. This I see as a Master - Servant relationship which has not helped us as a country. The civil servants are supposed to guide the political office holders appropriately but I think they have failed in their responsibilities. I don't want to believe that the top civil servants are the ones that enlighten or tutor the political office holders where wrong actions can be perpetrated. I am not accusing anybody. I am just making reference to a public perception. If it is true, I think the Political office holders and Technocrats should begin to think, plan and implement activities as such that it will be to the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The hue and cry about Senator John Enoh's sports background may not be the narrative that will make things work but a deliberate action by stakeholders to engage the actors, that is, the political office holders and the technocrats responsible for their actions and inactions. Therefore, Senator John Enoh must listen to wise counsel, work closely with the technocrats under him, exemplify mutual respect and take appropriate decisions that will lead to sports development.
For now, I say welcome Senator John Enoh and wish you a successful period of servant leadership as you drive sports in Nigeria to its eldorado.