TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS IN NIGERIA (1960 – 2019) PART 1: SHOWCASING HIGH CHIEF ALEX AKINYELE

By the records of WIKIPEDIA, from Independence in 1960, till this December 2019, Nigeria has produced over 40 Ministers of Education including Ministers of State, Education.

 

In the same vain, Nigeria should have probably produced about the same number of Ministers of Sports (Youth and Sports) including National Sports Commission Chairmen or Sole Administrator(s) of the National Sports Commission (from 1960 – 2019).

 

By the discovery of www.afrotradosports.com, six friendly personalities have been identified  to be AFROTRADOSPORTS FRIENDLY among the lot that were supposed to have held sway in these three-in-one platform of being Ministry of Sports, National Sports Commission and Ministry of Education in Nigeria. In fact, it was also further discovered that the three groups produced two representative each to cover the three of them. There were two from National Sports Commission, two from Ministry of Sports and two from the Ministry of Education.

 

From afrotradosports perspective, that is the six, that merited this list. However, anybody or group can select their own six or more or even none from this six. To us in afrotradosports, these six are the ones. We will give you the narrative that crown them with the accolade of TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS IN NIGERIA. 

 

In a paper title: AN OVERVIEW OF MODERN DEVELOPMENTS OF TECHNICAL GROWTH OF NIGERIAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS by Mallam Elias Yusuf on 26th November, 2012 at the Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) coaching clinic  which held at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos in preparation for EKO 2012, the 18th National Sports Festival in Nigeria, a build up  for the formation of National Sport’s Association for our Traditional sports in Nigeria was given as follows:

 

ASSOCIATION FORMATION: 

To really promote our Traditional Sports in the real perspective, a sport association had to be formed. Formation of Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) was really very dramatic and intriguing.

In 1990, a book titled “Abula and African Billiards was written by Mallam Elias Yusuf, the inventor of the Abula Game. The Abula game itself was invented in 1984 and the African Billiards in 1988.  

 

In 1992, Mallam Yusuf made a video tape on Abula and African Billiards. As Mallam Elias Yusuf and Mr. S.A Daudu had been in the same school complex at Idi-Araba High School, Mushin, Lagos State, they came up with a decision to present the video tape on Abula and African Billiards to the “Force House” which was the popular name given to the building, housing the then National Sports Commission near Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.

 

The duo of Mallam Elias Yusuf and Mr. S.A Daudu presented this tape on Abula and African Billiards to the Chairman of the National sports Commission through Dr. Amos Adamu the then Assistant Director of Sports in Nigeria in the company of Dr. Dongoyaro. That was the final push that brought about the formation of Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports in 1993.

 

Langa had been demonstrated … at Kaduna National Sports Festival, it did not muster enough force to lead to the formation of Traditional Sports Association in Nigeria because it was to form an association on its own. However, as well articulate rules and regulations were put in place in Abula and African Billiards, this accelerated the formation of Traditional Sports Association in Nigeria under the aegis of NIGERIA ASSOCIATION OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS (NATS) under the Chairmanship of Dr. Alh. G.N Hamza in 1993, the 1st NATS Chairman.  

 

Haven given you fairly detailed preamble that led to the formation of traditional Sports Association in Nigeria, here is the inauguration by Chief Alex Akinyele, live and direct with this historic speech:

 

SPEECH DELIVERED BY CHIEF ALEX AKINYELE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN NATIONAL SPORTS COMMISSION AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS ON THURSDAY 19TH AUGUST, 1993 AT THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SPORTS, NATIONAL STADIUM, SURULERE – LAGOS.

 

DIRECTOR-GENERAL, NSC,

DIRECTORS OF THE COMMISSION,

CHAIRMEN NATIONAL SPORTS ASSOCIATIONS

CHAIRMAN NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS

MEMBERS OF THE MASS MEDIA 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

 

I am delighted to be with everyone of you here today for yet another Inauguration Ceremony. This time, it is for the Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports which had been on the drawing board for quite sometimes now.

 

We are all aware that traditional sports as acrobatics, Ayo, Canoeing, Horse racing, Boxing, Wrestling, Arrow-shooting, Swimming etc. are ways of life in Nigeria. They are what we do as ways of fending for ourselves through occupations like fishing, hunting, farming and transporting. 

 

These traditional sports are also used as past time events even though their places in cultural rites, rituals and initiation ceremonies cannot be over-emphasied. Paramount among these sports are wrestling and boxing which were widely known among all the tribes in Nigeria before the advent of the Colonial Masters. We can recall that to the Hausas,

 

 Wrestling is known as “KOKAWA” …. as it is “NGBA” to the IBOS and the YORUBAS as “IJAKADI”.

 

We have woken up from slumbers today when the realization of annihilating these traditional sports stared us on our bare faces. Other world communities have registered their existence on earth with the international recognition accorded to their traditional sports. We can mention few of these sports among many of them. They are JUDO, KARATE, KONFU, TAEKWONDO, ROWING, ARCHERY, SHOOTING and so on and so forth.

 

In the same vain, we are inaugurating a body that will establish our traditional sports as other countries have done. For years, we have spent millions of naira on the development and practice of sports alien to Nigeria at the expense of our traditional sports. That was pardonable because of our colonial past when everything European was seen as better and no conscious effort was made to harness and develop our traditional sports. Henceforth, equal energy would be spent on the development of our traditional sports and the alien sports. 

 

THE ASSOCIATION IS EXPECTED TO:

    1. Identify and document traditional and invented games;
    2. Document rules and regulations of all traditional and invented games
    3. Modernize rules and regulations of traditional and invented games. 
    4. Formulate rules and regulations for the playing of traditional sports where necessary. 
    5. Organize exhibition of traditional and invented games. To benefit from the experience of the public 
    6. Organize exhibition of traditional and invented games

 

  • Demonstrate traditional and invented at the national sports festival.

 

  1. Export traditional and invented games to other countries in order to improve Nigeria’s image abroad and earn foreign exchange through companionships and personnel training for other countries.
  2. Train traditional and invented games referees and other technical officials.
  3. Draw up the calendar of activities for the games. 
  4. Seek sponsorship of the games within Nigeria.
  5. Undertake any other business with respect to the development of the games. 

 

MEMBERSHIP OF THE ASSOCIATION SHALL BE FOR TWO YEARS IN THE FIRST INSTANCE AND SHALL COMPRISE:

  1. Alhaji (Dr.) Hamza – Chairman 
  2. The Seven (7) Zonal Co-ordinators Member
  3. Mr. Mike Okpala (Power Mike) Member
  4. A representative each from SDD and PR&S Member
  5. Dr. T.O Adewoye (Ayo Guru) Member
  6.  Mr. Audu Bako (Great Traditional Sport Enthusiast)- Sport Member
  7. Mr. D. Omoifo Ejiy (Marksbal Inventor) Member
  8. Mr. Kayode Ojobi (Trainscore Inventor) Member
  9. Mr. L.O Oke (Ringball Inventor) Member
  10. Sports Development To Provide Secretary 

 

(And the first Sec. Gen. of the Sports Association was Mr. Peter Abiche)

 

After the delivery of this speech by the Chief, what would have happened? Definitely, the Chief being a crowd puller, the towering figure of the Chief, the broad smile on his face, the loud and clear voice, the commanding tone, all the gesticulations and paraphernalia of a cultural man, who was a public relation outstanding personality, ditching out an historic speech, please what would have happened?

 

I was not there but I guess it would be an automatic thunderous applause. And the MC of the occasion would go further and say “Another round of applause”. I know, if I were there, I would have automatically stood up because of my belief in what the chief had just done and , accomplished, I would begin to clap and some other people would automatically stand up to join me and the whole hall would join to give a STANDING OVATION, especially to a man who defeated the PERDITION that had been visited on African Traditional Sports over the years spanning the age of slave trade, colonialism and neocolonialism. Definitely, I am aware that the Chief was the JAGUNMOLU of Ipetu ijesha, I could see that afrotradosport also sees him as JAGUNMOLU of African Traditional Sports apart from being a FRIENDLY MINISTER OF AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS. It should be very clear that anybody who headed the Commission as Executive Chairman or Sole Administrator is the Minister of Sports for that period he was there on sports matters in Nigeria. In fact, sometime, a Minister would be formerly pronounced as minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission. I know that the Chief was formerly a Minister of Information of this Federal Republic of Nigeria.   

 

I was so fascinated by the Chief’s achievement on this our traditional sports that when I became the President of Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (2001 – 2005) I payed him a visit in his private outfit in Surulere area in Lagos. I went in company of my very close colleague, Mr. Samuel Ajayi Daudu. With a wonderful warm reception, he gave us a pleasant surprise. He just called somebody to bring Ayo board and called for a match. Oh! What a way of entertaining a visitor. Certainly the Chief was a good player of Ayo Game, especially the Yoruba version of the Ayo Game. He showed that he was not just theoretical in promoting our Traditional Sports, he was practical in playing our Traditional Sports of which Ayo is a great example and representative.(privately worldwide)

 

As Ambassador of African Traditional Sports, I wish to pay this tribute to the Chief on behalf of Traditional Sports Coaches, Athletes, Technical Officials and Administrators in Africa, that providence will make Ayo game available to you for your enjoyment in heaven if that condition applies there. Your historic seed, on African Traditional Indigenous Sports will yield dividends to the extend of playing African Indigenous Sports at the Olympic Games very soon. 

 

Chief, maje okun, maje ekolo, ohun tiwon ban je lajule orun ni kio ba won yotomi re. 

 

Adieu Chief, Paradise is your new abode.

 

Mallam Elias Yusuf 

 

N:B

  1. To write about TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS have been in the pipeline for long, but when I read many write-ups about the Chief after his demise I noted that nothing was mentioned about what afrotradosports considers as one of his historic contributions and achievements, hence this part 1 of TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS is fully devoted to the Chief. 

2. I hope the MOC and LOC of EDO 2020 will use the speech of Chief Alex Akinyele in totality to make all sports in TSFN rule book to be scoring at EDO 2020. It is possible, “the labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain.”

 

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