Sports enthusiasts in Lagos on Saturday assessed the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari in sports, describing his tenure as fair but leaving much to be desired.
The country experienced several challenges but also recorded some laudable achievements.
Ekanem Okoduwa, an ex-international volleyball player and grassroots coach, said under the President Buhari administration volleyball had a great leadership headed by Eng. Musa Nimrod.
He said Nimrod, the President of Nigeria Volleyball Federation, was able to host the continent to some age grade competitions.
He said Nimrod resurrected volleyball and made it relevant, and that his achievements were clear for all to see.
“I think the incoming president should focus more on making our sports facilities world class, we need more indoor courts/gymnasiums because the popularity of the sports is on a high.
“We have more younger people presently showing interest more than ever before. In essence, overall continuity is key to the progress of the sport,” he said.
In boxing, many stakeholders also gave the Buhari administration a pass mark, noting that the sport attracted sponsorships for many events at the grassroots and elite levels.
Indeed, the current Nigeria Boxing Board Of Control (NBB of C) led by Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, has been applauded across the country for his exemplary leadership.
With his vision, many sponsors and stakeholders have been promoting local talents, turning them into international stars.
The number of boxing promoters and sponsors is on the increase and this has produced young Nigerians contending with top athletes for international championship belts.
However, for a matured boxer, Tony Konyegwachi, an ex-international and current boxing coach, said that much was yet to be done in promoting boxing at this level.
“So much is yet to be done, a lot of sponsors and promoters need to see the importance of developing young stars to represent the country at the international boxing arena.
“The budding talents are there and ready to be harnessed. So, with more funds a lot can be achieved, especially raising the flag high at the Olympics and World Championships,” Konyegwachi said.
Other sporting activities such arm wrestling received recognition, and had a federation that brought together all state associations.
Engr. Samuel Jackson, the President, Arm wrestling Federations of Nigeria, said the federation has begun well and a lot of competitions had been held in Lagos and Abuja.
According to him, Nigerian arm wrestlers are now getting the attention they deserve due to their participation in the international circuits.
“What we want is more funds and support from private/corporate individuals who will contribute their own quota to the development of the sport.
“The sport has been received well enough throughout the federation and we can only experience upward movement and anticipate better days ahead,” Jackson said.
The performance of the Buhari administration not encouraging in other sports where Nigeria was ranked number one in Africa in the past.
There were many challenges in basketball, football, tennis and athletics.
For instance, the crisis that rocked the Nigeria Basketball Federation did not allow the basketball league to hold for four years.
Following the crisis, President Buhari had to order the withdrawal of Nigerian basketball teams from international competitions for two years.
The minister of youths and sports development in Nigeria, Sunday Dare, explained that the withdrawal would allow the government to set up an interim management committee to oversee the management and development of the domestic leagues as well as revamp the sports from the grassroots.
The Nigeria Rugby federation also experienced several challenges, which halted the league and resulted the non participation of Nigerian players in global events.