Bolaji Abdullahi’s successes, failures as Nigeria’s sports minister

Mr. Abdullahi was sacked from his position as the Minister of Sports.

Bolaji Abdullahi was appointed sports minister on March 23, 2012 by President Goodluck Jonathan. Prior to then, he was Minister of Youth Development, a position he held for about eight months.

Since his arrival at the sports ministry, Nigeria has achieved several successes while the minister has also courted some controversies.

Mr. Abdullahi, an indigene of Kwara State, served for two years, 11 months and 18 days.

Achievements

During his tenure, Nigeria won several laurels in sports.

Some of the achievements include:

The London 2012 Paralympics Games: Nigeria put up a great performance clinching six gold, five silver and one bronze medals.

Nigeria emerged third at the 2012 Senior African Wrestling Championship in Morocco and was the overall winner at the 2012 Senior Africa Weightlifting Championships in Kenya.

Team Nigeria male basketball team, D’Tigers, qualified to represent Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2012, Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations after 19 years of trophy drought for the male soccer team, the Super Eagles.

Nigeria won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, which took place in Dubai.
Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles qualified for the African Nations Championship, CHAN, for the first time and won the bronze medal at the event.

The Nigerian cricket team also for the first time ever, made it to the highest cricket league in Africa – League Five.

At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare won the silver medal in the long jump. Her jump of 6.99 meters put her in the second place with 2cm behind Brittney Reese (United States).

His Failures:

The Bolaji Abdullahi-led sports commission failed woefully at the 2012 summer Olympics, although he had just resumed a few months to the fiesta. Nigeria won no medal despite participating in athletics, weightlifting, taekwondo, canoeing, wrestling, basketball, table tennis, and boxing.
Mr. Abdullahi accepted responsibility for the failure and assured Nigerians of a successful Rio 2016 Olympics.

Policies

LMC: The former Sports Minister spearheaded the formation of the League Management Company, LMC. The company was established to administer the Nigerian professional league. Although enmeshed in various controversies, the LMC is seen by many as trying to introduce genuine reforms in administering the poorly managed Nigerian league.

National Youth Games: It debuted in 2013, recording participation from over 4000 under-17 school boys and girls from all the 36 states of the country. The event was to identify young Nigerian sporting talents. 327 talents were discovered, according to Mr. Abdullahi in his closing speech of the games.

He said it would be a bi-annual event.

A Code of Governance and Election Guidelines for the National Sports Federations were also instituted under the former minister.

Controversies

Under Mr. Abdullahi’s supervision, Nigerian paralympians and their coaches were cheated at the 2012 Paralympics by the sports ministry. Despite PREMIUM TIMES’ exposure of the fraud and mismanagement of the paralympic funds, no action was taken by the minister.


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