Sowore:’ Buhari scorecard in sports? Buhari does not understand anything including sports’
Sports by nature flourish when you have officials who understand how the industry works.
By May 29, 2022, the Buhari administration will be celebrating its seventh anniversary. It has been seven years of more negatives than positives. Presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore x-tray the administration’s performance in sports and other sectors. OLUKAYODE THOMAS reports
Sports by nature flourish when you have officials who understand how the industry works. The success stories of Joao Havelange with FIFA, Primio Nebiolo with World Athletics, and near home Isaac Akioye with sports in Nigeria attest to this. One of the cardinal sins of PDP was that in 16 years they gave 13 Sports Ministers for an industry that need a long time of planning.
But even in that season of anomie we still have outstanding and courageous guys Ishaya Mark Aku, Ibrahim Isa Bio, and Bolaji Abdullahi.
APC government led by Muhammadu Buhari is the opposite. In seven years, we had just two Sports Ministers Solomon Dalung and Sunday Dare but the worst PDP Sports Ministers Tamuno Danagogo, Sani Ndanusa, and Samaila Sambawa are better than the duo.
Presidential aspirant Sowore scored Buhari very poor in sports and other areas.
Said Sowore, “I don't think the administration understands anything for that matter of which sports is just one of the things they don't understand how it works.
“I was at the National Stadium the other day and I was asking around if the Minister of Sports has ever been to the national stadium. I was told that in the last six years he's been around twice.
“The toilets in the swimming section don't work. The first thing any swimmer does is to take a shower and use the toilet. For whatever purpose, the toilet is not working.
“In fact, I was directed to the female section of the swimming area so I could use it. I just didn't know what to do. And I asked how that is possible?
“And this is just the only functional stadium in the country, the one in Abuja. The National Stadium in Lagos has been converted into a nightclub or night clubs.
“However, if you go to Brazil where I was two times, in 2020 and 2014, every neighbourhood of the 'favelas' which you call ghettos has a pitch with two goalposts for football.
“They also have a running pitch and they have over 2000 of them in Sao Paulo alone. In Nigeria, you have one national stadium that doesn't function.
“There's something wrong with these guys, and you have 200million people, so what I'm trying to say to you is that Nigeria could be living off sports alone, almost, if we had leaders that understood how to make it work. “
With the present set of rulers, Sowore believes the future is bleak,
“I won't lie to you. There was a saying in Nigeria when I was growing up which goes thus: "Rome was never built in a day." When I reached outside of Nigeria I kept saying to myself "But Rome was never built forever.''
“If the contractors that built Rome were Nigerians, there would be no Rome today, because they would have kept saying, "We will deliver next year". There won't be Rome.
“So I have said it, I think there will have to be a radical change of course, and that's how I came about the idea of A Revolution; because this process we have in place now is snail speed; there's no speed.
“We're stuck, and people just engage in what we call psych locution; plenty of motion, no movement. We're going nowhere even though the conductors have called you and have asked you to enter the bus.
“When you get there you discover the bus has no tires, so where are you going? And then you want to investigate further and then discover that the bus has no engine. So why would you be lying to yourselves?
“Unless you radically put an engine and tires on that bus, you aren't going anywhere, but nobody wants you to believe that. This is the part of the mindset of people who say "Guys just calm down; everything will be alright.
“Don't follow the Sowores of this world; they're too much in a hurry, they're too radical, they're too extremist, you know Rome wasn't built in a day", and when you just stay there you realise that there was nothing designed to move here, which is the sad part of our experience as a people.”
Sowore who has travelled to about 30 countries worldwide said he has seen that is permanent reverse gear like Nigeria,
“There's no country I've been to in the world, and I've been to about 30 countries, that is as bad as Nigeria. When you come back someone makes you feel like 'It's not that bad; it's you that's just too much in a hurry, but it is really bad, and I'm serious.
“So I spent 20 years in the US. When I was going to the US I was 28 years old, I had no wife or kids; I went to the US and had a wife and kids. Before I had kids and a wife I came back and ran back to the US.
“Nigerians have a very specialised pessimistic spirit. It will be telling you 'Forget about what you saw in the US. After all, it took them 200 years to have democracy.' I travelled to other countries, places like Rwanda, and Kenya, I was in Egypt and Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Mauritius:
“Countries that you could call Third World countries, but there's nowhere I've been to that is as bad as Nigeria. None. So why are we doing this to ourselves? That's what I ask myself all the time.
“If anybody told me in 2019 that I would come back to Nigeria and be thrown into jail to sleep on the floor in the DSS, I wouldn't believe it, because we did that when we were in university when I was 22 years old.
“I attended the University of Lagos and it was supposed to be one of the best universities. 1989 to 1993/94, but all the time things just get more deplorable.
“This is the only country in the world where you live and start questioning your sanity. It's hopeless. I would be lying to you if I said that there's anything hopeful about here. I don't think so, because there are people that have designed this place not to work, and they are vehemently opposed to those who want to try to make it work.
“Like I used the analogy of a vehicle; I wake up in the morning tomorrow and the Nigerian state which is standing or sitting as a vehicle on a concrete and I try and put tires, the way people will beat you up, that's if they don't kill you.
“They will ask "Are you crazy? Why are you putting tires? Can't you see that is how we've been managing our things? If you put tires now, where are you going to get a driver?
“What if the driver drives too fast? Are you mad?" And immediately they will remove the tires so that the vehicle will remain on the concrete. That's why it's hopeless.
“But only a revolutionary situation can make that happen, because the people who kept Nigeria's vehicle on the concrete, that's how they make their fortune; that's their firm and that's the only thing they know how to do.
“So there has to be a set of people saying "No. How could we live in a country where the vehicle's starting on the concrete?" Because some of them are the people you call intellectuals, people you respect.
“I remember when I was growing up; when there was still history. I read about these great guys who made Nigeria. When we got to university we had to protest against the people we studied who were our heroes. I was like "Wow, so these guys are this bad?"
“Because they wrote the history that you read in primary and secondary school. So I know when journalists ask you "Is there hope?” It's a trap. They wonder, "Why are you such a pessimist, why can't you just come to a conclusion and everything will be alright."
“But if you want to make everything alright, you know what I will advise you? Just appoint a DJ as Nigeria's President so that he can be repeating the song "Everything will be alright, everything will be alright."
- Keep a date with us on Friday, May 13, 2022, for the final part of the 234sportsng.com interview with Presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore.
PULL QUOTE: “If the contractors that built Rome were Nigerians, there would be no Rome today, because they would have kept saying, "We will deliver next year". There won't be Rome.
PULL QUOTE: We're going nowhere even though the conductors have called you and have asked you to enter the bus. When you get there you discover the bus has no tires, so where are you going?