New Board members emerge as Federation Elections concludes across the country
When the Olympics comes to a conclusion every 4 years, the glamour and excitement gradually withers as Athletes, Administrators and fans wake up to the inevitable reality that awaits them when they return home. The National Sport Federation Elections usually signals the end of a journey and the beginning of another. Politics is at its peak, Board members scramble for re-election into various positions while others outside believe they too can do the job therefore, contesting for a position on the Board. This was the case of the just concluded Cricket Federation elections on the 21st and 22nd of September 2021 across the country.
Those who have served for 4 years would have a self-assessment on their contributions to the growth and development of the sport to determine whether or not they deserve a second, third, and/or fourth chance as the case may be, others simply get tired and frustrated and decide a new career path, the rest do not really care and so desperate measures are deployed to return back either by ‘hook or crook’ our usual verb that describes a Nigerian politician.
For the sport Cricket, the evidences of their success stories are everywhere and they do not need witnesses to testify or hire marketers to sell their brand. They have been the Federation with the most activities in the last 4 years, even applauded by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. Notable achievements included the qualification for the Under-19 world cup for the first time in their history and the hiring of a foreign coach to improve the standard of Cricket in the country.
One would expect that this is testament enough to have a smooth election from the various constituencies but again, it wouldn’t be called an election if there were no changes or surprises from various quarters.
Peaceful elections were conducted across the country among various constituencies and most members of the Board were returned unopposed especially from the 6 geo-political zones in a very free and fair election much to the credit of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. However, South West returned with a new zonal representative in the person of Tayo Atoloye, Ex Nigeria International and huge promoter of Grassroots Cricket in the region, likewise North West with Usman Ladan, a seasoned administrator and Musa Sule Jarmai from Gombe State representing North East.
Worthy of note is that the immediate past President of the Federation Prof. Yahaya Ukwenya opted out from contesting in the elections after serving passionately for 16 years on the Board, to concentrate on his Medical Profession as a Surgeon and his passion as a grassroots cricket developer in Kaduna state. His success recorded speaks volume in every department of the game.
The biggest News perhaps as the election results unfolded was Engr. Emeka Onyeama, former President of the Federation, who contested from the North Central region, yet again was defeated by the incumbent Mr. Dare Aimola.
Ex-International Endurance Ofem too got a nod to continue as the player’s representative along with Professor Suleiman, representing the National Association of Women in Sports (NAWIS). Coming highly recommended and making his first entrance into the Board as the Technical Director is Joseph Eshua, a former General Manager of the Federation and an ex-international. He replaces Enesi Dahiru.
The next 4 years looks very bright and the Board members elected would know that the standards have just gone up even higher. All hands must be on deck to deliver the goods for Cricket Federation.