National Sports Retreat: Challenges of Implementation of McKenzie Recommendations

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By Dr. Sadiq A. Abdullahi
In the next weeks, the highly anticipated report of the October 22 National Sports Retreat 2012 will be submitted to President Goodluck E. Jonathan for review and approval. The President has issued a statement, through the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, that the recommendations will be fully implemented with rigor. This endorsement signals a strong message to the sports sector, fulfilling one of his campaign promises to reform all sectors of the economy that are underperforming. This is consistent with his Transformation Agenda.

The McKenzie Group, the group that supervised the national retreat, is one of the leading audit management firms in the world. Recall that almost a decade ago, Goldman Sachs, one of the largest global investment banking, securities and investment management firms in the world, predicted that Nigeria would attain global competitiveness by 2025 because of its economic potential, demographics settings, and size.

The McKenzie Group has made assurances that it would provide the platform for meaningful discussions to develop recommendations that would put the sports sector back on the right path. This is as result of the country’s disgraceful performances at the London 2012 Olympics, prompting President Jonathan to vow to improve our chances at winning medals and set a target of 5 gold medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

But veteran sports writers such as Ikeddy Isiguzo, Onochie Anibeze, Patrick Omorodion, Paul Bassey, Ayo Ositelu, Toni Ubani, and former international stars like Nduka Odizor, Adokie Amiesimaka, Segun Odegbami and others have warned and suggested that until the critical factors undermining the implementation of past National Sports Policy are checked, McKenzie recommendations will be difficult to implement in environmental that allows politics to reign unabated.

Many academic scholars have written to support the assertion, and those who studied the problem of implementation of policies in developing countries are quick to remind us that corruption, lack of continuity in government policies, and inadequate human and material resources are factors that contribute to the implementation problem. These factors should be taken seriously by the sports minister, as they will adversely impact our planning, preparations, and ability to win 5 gold medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and thus limiting our ability to attain global sports competitiveness.

Dr. Sadiq A. Abdullahi

Visiting Senior Lecturer, Federal University Kashere (FUK), Nigeria
Adjunct Professor, College of Education, Florida International University (FIU)
Chair, Educational Excellence School Advisory Council (EESAC)

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