Idowu Omoro is the wrestling coach in Rivers State Sports Council and in this interview with Extra Time’s ANDREW EKEJIUBA, he speaks on the just concluded federation elections and the chances of Team Nigeria at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia. Excerpts:
Share with us your impression on the just concluded Sports Federations elections?
I cannot say I’m hundred percent happy but there some issues which came up in some federations which portends danger to the development of our sports. But I thank the Sports Minister for standing up to the occasion to make some needed corrections.
In Traditional Sports Federation for example, someone who never contested election as the President was declared winner, but I was glad the result was upturned and the rightful person won after a successful appeal.
In the South South Zone of the election also Dr. Manda Chidoke emerged winner but was surprisingly dropped and someone who did not win was chosen.
If we truly want sports to move forward in Nigeria, we should kick against such abnormalities. Dr. Manda Chidoke contributed a lot to the development of trado sports in the country and should be encouraged. He sponsored lots of our traditional wrestlers to many national and international competitions, so these are the people we need in TSFN.
What are your expectations from the new boards of sporting federations?
I don’t have much to say about other sports but in amateur wrestling I must commend Hon. Daniel Igali for helping in the development of free style wrestling in the country.
No wonder he won his election in the Nigeria Wrestling Federation in a free and fair manner. His victory is a big plus to Nigerian sports.
Today Igali is a role model to our upcoming youths and I advise that our sports administrators should emulate him because he spends his hard earned money sponsoring our wrestlers to many national and international competitions.
Some board members of some sports federations only think of what will line their pockets and not what they can contribute to sports development.
Can you score the immediate past board of TSFN led by Mohammed Abdullahi?
I don’t want to say anything negative about the past Trado Sports board because I had a good relationship with Abdullahi’s led board. He is currently the President of Archery Federation and he supported me from 2007 till date.
He tried his best for Trado Sports and we are waiting for what the new President will do for TSFN after their inauguration.
What major changes do you expect in the organization of traditional sports in Nigeria?
I want the new board of TSFN to organize more competitions for the athletes at least to revive sports in Nigeria.
They should also reach out to Corporate Nigeria to help sponsor their programmes in this regard.
It is my suggestion that we must prepare our athletes adequately before taking them to international competitions.
Can you share with us the major problems confronting sports development in Nigeria?
We have bad administrators who are killing sports in the country with their bad and retrogressive policies and actions.
Go to South Africa, their administrators are working hard to develop their sports, but that cannot be said of Nigeria.
Since Eko 2012 National Sports Festival we have not had any sports festival to unearth hidden talents from the grassroots.
The Youth Games organized in Kwara State last year by the Sports Ministry was a sham!
Also, some coaches and athletes in states are on contract and these states have stopped paying them because there are no sports festivals in the offing.
I want to appeal to the Sports Ministry to quickly organize the National Sports Festival to discover future Olympians in this regard.
The Sports Minister should talk to Sports commissioners to kindly pay their athletes and coaches because a worker deserves his pay.
I want to also beg Governor Nyesom Wike to come to the rescue of our suffering coaches and athletes in Rivers State because we are ready to make the state proud in sporting competitions.
Why is it that Nigeria has remained a dumping ground for foreign sports?
The answer is simple; we are not developing and promoting our indigenous sports! We are not serious in terms of sports development. Our trado sports supposed to be demonstrated at the All Africa Games. We should learn to transport our indigenous sports to other countries for them to be recognized.
Abula and langa are our traditional games begging for recognition worldwide.
Are you delighted with the efforts made by the Sports Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung, to develop sports in Nigeria?
I’m not impressed because since he came into office our sports development is dying gradually and we need him to step up.
He should borrow a leaf from the Minister of Information, Alh Lai Mohammed who on annual bases been organizing National Festival of Arts and Culture. Everything is going on smoothly in that ministry and the same should be replicated in sports ministry.
Predict Team Nigeria’s chances at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia?
It will be difficult for Team Nigeria to excel because there are no competitions to unearth those athletes who will represent us well. So we should not expect any miracle!