In life, it is said that nothing is permanent except change. After all the tension that enveloped the country before the 2015 Presidential election held on March 28, the word, change has taken place with the emergence of a new leader to steer the ship of Nigeria for the next four years beginning from May 29, 2015. WESTERN POST’s Tosin Omojola In this piece, takes a look at the effect the change would have on the sporting sector with focus on some personalities likely to be negatively affected by the outcome of the exercise as well as fears of some stakeholders with the coming in of a new party at the federal level
It is no more news that the much talked about Presidential election in Nigeria has been held with the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Republic (PDP) losing to his major opposition, General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
However, the outcome of the polls has as expected remained the talk of the town and it is expected to be so till the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly election take its turn this weekend.
Stakeholders in various sectors are already talking about what effect the change of baton at the centre would bring, with change in virtually all the sectors seemingly inevitable.
The case is not different in sport as stakeholders are already gearing up for a clean sweep of old hands to be replaced by fresh ones in terms of appointment.
Come May 29, the APC will take over from the PDP, 16 years after the ruling party had controlled the affairs of the country at the centre. On that day, General Buhari, bearing any change would be taking over from President Jonathan who has been in the saddle for the past six years and he implication of these is that new hands would definitely come on board to run the affairs of Nigerian sports.
Already, stakeholders in the industry have marked out names of some people who naturally are out of office with the loss of President Jonathan in last Saturday’s presidential election, just as the case would be in other sectors.
With the exception of democratically elected persons into various sporting associations, almost every other person who occupy various positions through appointment are sure of exiting office with the defeat of President Jonathan by General Buhari.
Among those who could be on their way out are Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi, Sport Minister/Chairman National Sport Commission )NSC) and the commission’s Director General Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye .
Stephen Kesh (Super Eagles coach)i: The embattled Super Eagles gaffer could eventually miss out of the Eagles job going by the outcome of the presidential election.
Keshi has been on logger head with his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) since July last year when his contract which he signed with the immediate past board of the NFF lapsed.
It is believed that Keshi would have been replaced long time ago, but for the support he is said to be receiving from the outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan who is seen as his admirer since leading the Super Eagles to triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa two years ago.
At a point in time, the newly elected board of the NFF headed by Amaju Pinnick fired the sweat merchant but a counter order, calling on the body to rescind its decision came from the presidency, confirming Jonathan’s support for the former Super Eagles captain.
Following the failure of Nigeria to book a ticket to the 2015 AFCON staged in Equatorial Guinea, Nigerians had expected the hammer to fall on the gaffer but somehow, he survived it, even though, talks about a new contract has since remained unresolved up till the presidential election was held last weekend.
With the defeat of President Jonathan by Buhari, every finger now point at the exit door for Keshi as he might not be able to get the backing of President Jonathan who now has less than two months to stay in office.
There are rumours already that the NFF board which had reportedly delayed renewing the coach’s contract till after the presidential election has been making secret contacts with some foreign coaches with a view to naming one of the expatriate coaches as Keshi’s replacement.
However, there is also report that Keshi is also well connected and this could as well pave a way for him to retain his job.
Tammy Danagogo (Sport Minister/NSC Chairman ): If Stephen Keshi has 40-60% chances of returning as Eagles coach, the same could not be said of the Sport Minister/ Chairman of the National Sport Commission (NSC) Dr Tammy Danagogo.
For him, there is no hidden place as it is quite sure that his days, just as the other ministers and political appointees under the PDP led government have their days in office numbered.
Gbenga Elegbeleye (Director General NSC): Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye is another appointee in the sport sector who could be negatively affected by the change of government at the centre.
The Ikare Akoko born politician is a strong member of the PDP.
Normally, the former member of the House of Representative should have no reason to be afraid considering the fact that occupants of this position have at least four years to spend in office and he is barely two year old in office.
However, when it comes to politics, impossible is nothing especially when it has to do with change of power. In this case, it becomes a different ball game entirely as the new government dislodges the old order to put its own order in place, a development that will surely consume some actors.
The picture ahead shows that of a total change and this could affect the DG who might be dropped by the incoming government, except something else happens that will favour him.
Fears of Failure
However, some stakeholders are already developing cold feet about what the future holds for Nigeria’s sport.
Sentiments apart, it will be unfair to score the outgoing government low in terms of performance as far as sport is concerned.
In the past few years, Nigeria has recorded huge achievement in this sector in virtually all the sports which the country is well known with. Talk about football the records are there, basketball, athletics, table tennis and son, the PDP government has done well above average.
But some people are beginning to express fear that a government led by the All Progressive Congress (APC) may not be able to match the achievement of the PDP considering what is happening to sport in some state under the leadership of the APC.
For instance, sport in states such as Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Edo has dwindled because the governors of those states seem not interested in sport.
It is in one of this states that a governor publicly stated that he cannot be spending money on sport when other sectors are there, stressing that those who are involved in sport are well to do people.
The fear therefore is that since the states under APC are not doing well in sport, this might be the case at the national level and should this be, then the country should be prepared for the worse.
As Nigerians await the new government to step in from May 29, stakeholders in the sport sector would be waiting to see what the APC government has to offer.
Surely, the PDP led government has set a high standard , it is left for the APC to either maintain it or surpass it, definitely, Nigerian sport followers would be disappointed if the standard fall.