By Godwin Bamigboye.
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has a structure that does not favour the development of Sports. All sporting activities are currently run under a Department in the Social Development Secretariat.
It has been subjected to all forms of bureaucratic tendencies which are not good for sports development. It slows down and reduces the potentials of sports in FCT.
Let me go back to a bit of history. The defunct FCT Sports Council was founded in 1989. It had a board with Colonel Boman Tiyakpat Kachim as Executive Chairman. The establishment of the Sports Council accelerated the development of sports in FCT over a period of time. The Council began to lose its potency when it was decimated to a Department and answerable to the Social Development Secretariat. Before the Sports Council was created, the FCT authority supported sporting activities so much that some burdens were taken off owners of Sports outfits and clubs. Sports activities received government support and a few corporate bodies also supported sports development. Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), Federation of Youth Soccer Clubs (FEYSOC), National Sports Federations among others found the Federal Capital Development Authority as willing helper and the gesture went a long way to lay the foundation for sports development in FCT. The FCT participated for the first time in the National Sports Festival in 1988 (Rivers ’88). Shortly after Rivers ’88 the FCT Sports Council was established. The speed at which sports grew was encouraging but unfortunately the fortune of Sports began to dwindle. Really unfortunate!
Sports in FCT currently has been reduced to the level that is despicable. It’s like speaking to the sports stakeholders that ” sports is inconsequential”. If the Managers of Sports can occupy a good position on the overall Medals Table at the National Sports Festival despite the current neglect of Sports by the FCT Administration, I believe that the FCT may top the medal tables if the right structures are provided for sports administration.
Do you know that there are a good number of land earmarked for development of sports facilities in the Federal Capital Territory? The position of these land may have been jeopardized. I am talking about the Districts already developed. They may have been utilized for other purposes like shopping plaza, housing estates and others. If this is the true state of the land allocated for sports, I think the land in districts not yet developed can be salvaged.
Sports in the Federal Capital Territory will take its right place if the stakeholders will arise and speak for sports. They must arise and seek for the establishment of the FCT Sports Commission. I am aware that some concerned stakeholders are already working towards pressuring the government to establish the FCT Sports Commission. With the government’s approval of the Sports Industry Policy, it is necessary to put the necessary structure in place for it’s realization in the FCT. The current Sports Structure is so weak that not much can be achieved.
You can see that the Six Stadia in the Six Area Councils in FCT have all been abandoned. The Are Three field and the Old Parade Ground, which are the only Sports Facilities owned by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) are really not befitting the status of the Capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I feel sad about it. The Moshood Abiola National Stadium does not belong to the FCTA. Something must be done to change the narratives. The necessary structure must be put in place because we need to give attention to the social and economic empowerment of the youths through sports. We neglect this important group of Nigerians at our collective peril.
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) must do the needful. The needful is to immediately establish the FCT Sports Commission.