Sport: A Tool for Fighting Insecurity,Poverty in Nigeria

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By Olusola Hammed

Security challenges facing the country are getting worse by the day and the government is doing all it can to ameliorate the plight of those who are affected by the devastating effects of insecurity in the country.

When one goes to the North-Eastern part of the country, thousands of people are living in the internally displayed persons (IDP) camp in Bornu, Yobe, Adamawa,
and Taraba States, among others,due to incessant attacks by suspected Boko Haram members and or bandits who are terrorising villagers across the states mentioned.

Recently in Zamfara State a group of bandits surrendered their arms to the government of the state and promised to shelve their swords in order to allow peace to reign in the State. With that, one cannot easily conclude that that is the end of insecurity in the State as those groups are one in twenty of such in the State.

Earlier this year,almost on daily basis villages are being attacked by either Boko Haram group or bandits. Majority of the people perpetrating these evil acts are youths who are said to jobless. They wake up early in the morning roaming the streets without any work to do and there is no hope of getting one in the nearest future.

In South-South and South- Eastern part of the country, pipe oil bombing,killings and kidnappings of oil expertrates is the order of the day among the restive youths in the area.The bombing of oil pipelines is having adverse effects on the country’s economy.

These youths did not just wake up in the morning and choose terrorism as a job but the saying that “an idle hand is a devil workshop” led them into committing crime and they see nothing bad or wrong in their actions.

The problem of unemployment bedeviling the country, which has led large number of our youths into various crimes including the now most popular internet fraud among the youths caused by negligence and “I don’t carelism” on the part of functionaries of successive governments,which despite traveling abroad and witnessing how western world are developing their youths through sports and ICT have failed to initiate such in Nigeria. This is not unconnected with their selfish interests to amass wealth for their unborn children and impoverish the children of the masses.

It is not too late for government of the day in Nigeria to turn around the situation for better. No matter the amount of money government may spend in procuring arms and ammunitions to fight crimes and terrorism in Nigeria if the causes of the these crimes are not been defeated, all the money and efforts will be spent in futility. Rather, huge amount of money should be allocated to the sports sector of the economy to engage and empower our restive youths.

In sports, there are a lot of activities government can delve into and encourage our youth to engage in like athletics, track and field, table tennis, lawn tennis, volleyball, basketball, badminton and the king of sports,which is money spinning,football.

In the world of football we live today, if a boy or girl from a family choses a career in football and is goog enough to get his/her way to one of the top five leagues in Europe, I bet it with you if such a Fellow is kind to his immediate family, they will never know poverty in their life again.

If all our restive youths that are committing crimes here and there can be engaged in one sport or the other at a tender age,the rate of criminality will be reduced. Apart from keeping them busy, they will also be able to choose a career in any sports of their choice.

Revelations has shown, from time immemorial, that sports can be a tool of curbing crimes in our society as we had witnessed prison inmates taken part in sporting activities,which automatically re-orientate them prior to their release from the prison and later pursue a career in the chosen aspect of sports.

Our government must take sports seriously, pump huge money into the sector, develop, upgrade and give proper and adequate monitoring and maintenance to our sporting facilities across the country.If our stadia are put into proper use and necessary equipment are installed,

government should also do well to the appointment of a seasoned sports administrator to the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, strategic policies should be put in place to harness the potentials of youths.

National sports festival should also be reinvigorated, well funded and efforts must be put in place to ensure it is be organised on its annual basis as this will help us build on the potentials and develop a virile developing system in our sports.

Prof Noah Yusuf, Dr Adimula of the University of Ilorin and others presenting trophy to the winning school

The Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth development should collaborate with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to submit bids to football’s world governing body, FIFA to submit bids to host major FIFA tournaments.

 

Hosting a FIFA a tournament may gulp Tue country a huge amount of money but hey! if it is men’s World cup, after a successful hosting if our government will not lie to us usual, Nigeria’s gross Domestic Products (GDP) may be tripled as it was witnessed when Brazil hosted the 2014 edition of the FIFA World Cup. Prior to the 2014 hosting of FIFA World Cup in Brazil, many critics of the Brazilian government were raising eyebrow over what they called outrageous amount of money being spent to renovate and construct new stadia in preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup but after successful hosting of the tournament later in July same year many of the critics were praising the government as they did not only recoup the amount they spent on stadia construction and renovation but the country’s national domestic products was tripled due to the influx of millions football lovers who trooped in the country to witness the FIFA mundial.

Hosting a FIFA tournament will not only benefitted the football lovers but all sectors of the nation’s economy will witness a boost as visitors will patronise sectors like hospitality, tourism, transport among others to feel the cultural heritage of our dear country.

Olusola Hammed is of the Directorate of Corporate Affairs Unit, University of Ilorin.

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