Football Remains the Number One Sport in Nigeria-PMB

…NFF Gets Over N15 billion in the Last Seven Years

By: Gyang Dakwo

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja declared that football remains the number one sport in Nigeria and a national asset, therefore his administration will resist any attempt to undermine its development.

The President made the pledge while receiving the 10-year Football Development Masterplan submitted by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare.

Describing football as ”our passion and a major tool for unity,” the President affirmed that it is the responsibility of the government to safeguard the sport, which has brought Nigeria many laurels, and ”treat it as a national asset.”

”Indeed, just as I expect and demand a higher standard of patriotism, responsibility, and commitment from those charged with the administration of our football, I also urge all stakeholders to work together constructively and patriotically.

President Buhari, who used the occasion to spell out his expectations from the two-volume report, directed the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to commence its implementation in phases, within the fine lines of relevant sections of the Nigerian laws on sports development and the statutes of the world soccer governing body, FIFA.

While expressing happiness about the practical recommendations to tackle the problems bedeviling football, Buhari directed the NFF to commence implementation of the master plan under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

”I am equally happy that the Nigeria Football 10-Year Masterplan (2022-2032) identified Fifteen (15) Key Areas of challenge and provided practical recommendations to address these fundamental problems that have bedeviled football development in the country.

On the forthcoming NFF executive election, President Buhari reiterated his earlier communication to the body on the need for a more equitable and democratic representation in the Congress of the NFF.

According to him, this will ensure that critical stakeholders are not shut out and the most capable and competent men and women are elected to run the affairs of the Federation.

In his remarks, the Sports Minister announced that the Buhari administration has disbursed over N15 billion to NFF through budgetary appropriations and Presidential interventions in the last seven years.

Commending the President for the attention to football development in the country and laying a solid foundation for the growth of the game, the Minister described the 10-year Masterplan, which took the Ibrahim Galadima-led 16-member Committee six months to prepare, as ”a world-class document.”

The Minister said the prescriptions set forth in the Football Masterplan if followed through with the needed will and determination, would set Nigeria’s football on a very sure footing and position it amongst the best in the world.