This novel idea of Lagos becoming the HUB of Sports in Africa was muted on September 18, 2016 in a full page interview granted by a Foremost National Newspaper to Mr. Deji Tinubu [Late], the Pioneer Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission who also doubled as Special Adviser on Sports to the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr. Akinwumi Ambode.
What is a HUB?
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English otherwise known as THE LIVING DICTIONARY defines “hub” as the central and most important part of an area, system, activity etc. which all other parts are connected to. So, Lagos being HUB of SportS in Africa, the whole of Africa, not Africa South of Sahara, that is a dream to outclass Cairo, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Nairobi and Accra in sport development.
Late Mr. Deji Tinubu, granting the interview for his first year in office as the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, described Lagos as a “state of over 20 million residents with over 60% of them being young people who can be recreational or professional athletes”. He viewed this gigantic project as covering facilities, programmes, events, resources and to be addressed on short, mid-term and long term basis. He said that his pronouncement was based on the passion that the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has for sports.
The phrase “passion for sports” seems to be very endemic with the current Governor and his predecessors in office. His immediate predecessor, even though, sports was not among his “ten points agenda”, his passion for sports could be confirmed through four major areas of achievements. (1) Sports-facilities (improvement and development) such as Teslim Balogun Campos Mini Stadium, Jalisco, Oshodi etc (2) Hosting the national sports festival EKO 2012 in less than normal two-year approval interval (3) Hosting of international sports events like Governor’s Cup on Tennis, international marathons, hosting of Serena and Venus Williams, etc. and (4) The Principals’ Cup, repackaged principals’ cup to also cover Girls’ version.
With the pronouncement of “Project, Lagos the Hub of Sports in Africa” so to name it, the achievements of His Excellency in Sports in Lagos State may just compare with what happened to Oshodi, under Governor Fashola which was hailed nationwide or more than nationwide. What is currently happening to Oshodi, how do we describe it? A dreamland! that may be a dream like Marthin Luther King Jr devine pronouncement “I have a dream”
The dream of this project has been aptly demonstrated in a two – in – one practical action. When His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode visited the National Stadium, Surulere in 2017 with the Minister of Sports Mr. Solomon Dalung, and the visit of President Mohammadu Buhari to Lagos for the 10th colloquium of the Birth Day of Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu. On the two occasions, the Governor (of Lagos State) hammered the same point “to collect the National Stadium, Surulere from the Federal Government of Nigeria, in order to save it from decay and develop it for usage for sports economy, social sports, sports tourism and general well being of the environment.
If this happens, the Federal Government of Nigeria should have struck gold unknowingly. It would have been the case of the film titled “the … of Bagdad”. The actor was told, the gate to the venture he was going for was located “where it was not”. The actor was thoroughly confused. This was because the actor did not know where to approach again. He was just wandering about in that location when suddenly the earth surface beneath him gave way so he submerged into a cave that led him to where he was searching for.
Yes, the progress we are searching for in this nation Nigeria, Sport is a major outlet to gain access to it and particularly our Indigenous Traditional Sports, that we did not take seriously, they hold the ace. (There is going to be an article on this matter just mentioned later in the series.)
The Late Mr. Deji Tinubu elucidated on this “Hub” project further by saying “ we want to revive the sports culture in the state by creating an enabling environment for sports to thrive, reinvigorating school sports facilities, discovering and preparing the best talents for competitions and professionals sports careers, working with our clubs in the NPFL and lower leagues, on how to optimize match-day opportunities, adding excitement to our existing competitions, creating and partnering with new events and competitions, and investing massively in renewal of existing sports facilities as well as constructing new ones. We are working with local and international partners already”.
As a follow up to this commitment as stated above, in February 2017, Senior Special Assistant on Sports facilities and Infrastructure to Lagos State Governor, Mr. Bolaji Yusuf granted another full page interview in support of the goal of making Lagos Hub of Sports in Africa. He said “Governor Akinwunmi Ambode says, he wants to use sports to drive tourism and that means we have to prepare well. We have to take into consideration the size of the State, which has about 20million people. We did sports facility update and discovered we are far behind but the Governor has promised to have five new stadia across the five divisions (of Lagos State) in the span of this administration.
The state is looking at about 50, (recreational facilities) which means in every community, we’ll have recreational facilities in every LGA and LCDA… They will be used by physically challenged people too”.
That is very good; however this is where Traditional Indigenous Sports come to town. Where are the facilities for our Traditional Sports? Our major popular indigenous sports are Abula, Ayo, African Billiards, Dambe, Kokawa and Langa .
We just have to remember that our Traditional Sports Friendly man, the Pioneer Lagos State Sports Commission Chairman Late Mr. Deji Tinubu organized the 1st Lagos State Traditional Games Championship for secondary schools on three Traditional Sports of ABULA, AYO and KOKAWA [TRADITIONAL WRESTLING] on 12th – 14th October, 2016 at Campos Mini Stadium, Lagos Island. 14 secondary schools participated in female while 15 participated in male categories in Abula while 24 and 27 schools participated in female and male categories respectively in Ayo. Afrotradosports hereby pays tribute to our friend, a benefactor, a pioneering supporter and promoter of our Traditional Sports. May his soul be accepted into paradise [amen]. We pay you GREAT TRIBUTE, that that permanent smile on your face while you were alive will never disappear where you are in heaven.
Finally in this March 2018, confirming the idea of Lagos becoming Hub of Sports in Africa, the new Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, who had taken up that position when Late Mr. Deji Tinubu moved to another sphere of endeavour in the Lagos State set up before his demise, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh has just effected a major reform in Lagos State Traditional Sports Association by spreading the five sports in the association to be supervised by five vice chairmen under a co-ordinating chairman. These supervising vice chairmen will be specializing in the Traditional Sports they supervise.
This is a great innovation. It is highly commended. Traditional Sport Federation of Nigeria [TSFN] should take note.
The BIG QUESTIONS from http://www.Afrotradosport.com is: What is in the HUB for our indigeneous African Traditional Sports?
Mallam Elias Yusuf
6 – 04 – 2018