Barring what’s known in sports parlance as force majeure, the dates of major sporting events in countries where sports are run as commercial enterprises that significantly fuel economic development over the next 10 years have been scheduled.

They are well known to all stakeholders, including:

   — administrators,

   — facility managers,

   — marketers,

   — broadcast networks,

   — agents, advertisers,

   — tour organizers,

   — betting companies,

   — viewing centres

   — beer parlours

   — flight operators,

   — travel agencies, 

    — ETC

That’s why sports constitute big business in well run economies and not the drain pipe or abyss of corruption they are in Nigeria.

Consider these:

  1. Which football lover in Nigeria is never aware when the English FA Cup is being contested?
  2. Who is not already in possession of the full schedule of the 2023 English Premier League (EPL) and, for that matter, the schedules for all leagues in Europe and much of the Americas?
  3. How many people were aware that the recent Federation Cup final between Bendel Insurance and Enugu Rangers was happening? How many supporters made the trip from Enugu and Edo states respectively to Asaba for the match?
  4. Who knows when the 2023/2024 national soccer league in Nigeria will start or end?

It wasn’t always like this in Nigeria, where sports were nurtured by intense spectatorship and committed followership. In high school at Agbor, I regularly went to watch the AAA at Ogbe stadium in Benin in the early 70s. While at Ife in the mid 70s, I regularly went to Lagos to watch some of the big events of the day.

Rangers supporters used to unleash an avalanche of vehicles called “awalawas” (uncovered lorries) on the road to Lagos (and once to Kaduna for an Africa Cup Winners clash against the IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan) to support their team.  Water Corporation-Shooting Stars rivalries were always infinitely fiercer in intensity than El Classico, Manchester derby and North London rivaly. So we’re Bendel Insurance vs New Nigeria Bank in Benin and Vasco-Rangers in Enugu. Working in Lagos in the late 90s, I drove all the way to Ilorin to watch an encounter between Bendel Insurance and Eyinba of Aba.

Today, such risks would be profiled as suicidal on both counts of personal finance and safety/security.

That’s why sports account for one of the economic afflictions of Nigeria. Those who are running the show don’t know what they’re doing – because they don’t know where the rain started to beat our sports.

Are Nigeria’s policy makers aware of the immense potential of sports to aid the process of reclaiming this country for the benefit of succeeding generations?