• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

The Pestilence Scourge In Nigeria Boxing — Deep Thoughts

In the anal of boxing in the world, Nigeria, beyond a country is a formidable entity with her products emerging and dominating the scenes of the sport in almost all categories of weight. Administratively, the country isn’t lacking capable hands and adequate brains. Sadly, the handling and provision of the enabling environment have caused the country to become a shadow of herself in a scene she’s known to be an unbreakable force. The bane of the drop in Nigeria boxing is nothing but Corruption!

In the last couple of years, Boxing, as administered by the Nigeria Boxing Federation (NBF), has become a cesspool of corruption and maladministration for some time now. More recently, when you thought the Federation could not dig itself deeper, it just found another level of appalling descent.

The more boxers get competitions, the better and bigger they become; It is however no longer news that the Federation has ceased organizing competitions or camping for national assignments. But what has become alarming is the “Money For National Team Jersey” scheme embarked on by the Secretary-General. Under this underhand arrangement, all you have to do is pay money into the coffers of the Federation (or is it the Sec-Gen’s?) account and you will become a member of Nigeria’s National Boxing Team.

The Corruption Cancer

This scheme is so perfect that it has been in operation since 2023. With this arrangement, boxers are no longer selected through trials, or even on the recommendation of coaches. Added to this cash-and-carry, the Oyingbo market system has also been extended to the choice of coaches and perhaps other officials.

The dimension of the corrupt practices at the House of Boxing can be illustrated with the following examples.

•• At the African Boxing Championships held in Cameroon, last August, the Nigerian contingent went with this class of boxers, including the foreign-based. They went with the high hope that boxers who get to the medal range would be rewarded with fabulous prize money, courtesy of IBA and AfBC.

•• Expectedly, the boxers went, won some, lost some and came home. It being that winners were never paid their prize monies up till now. Rumour has it the money may have entered the voicemail of some NBF officials. That needs to be investigated. What also needs to be investigated is Nigeria’s contingent to the recent First World Olympics Qualifiers in Italy. It is understood that each participant (boxer) was charged up to N5.5 million.

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the results were not pleasant. The farthest anyone went was the quarterfinals, where the unlucky boxer was under the tutelage of an uncertified coach, who happened to be a member of the NBF board.

As usual, this dismal performance will be swept away without any remonstrations, UNLESS the Minister hears these atrocities and decides to investigate. If he does, part of the questions to be asked are:

Questions Begging For Answers In Nigeria Boxing

♦ Who are the boxers who paid to go to the two competitions (and others, if any)?
♦ How much was paid by each
♦ To who (or which account) was the money paid to
♦ How was the money expended?
♦ Who authorized the collection and expenditure of the money?
♦ Was money spent ever retired?
♦ Were all these done in strict adherence to Civil Service guidelines?
♦ What happened to the prize money from Cameroon?

♦ Would we require the services of EFCC since the prize money is in dollar terms

♦ What qualifications do the present coaches of the national team hold?

♦ Are they the best of the lot we have available in the country

♦ Is a board member not abusing his/her privileges by taking over the coaching role? Especially when such a Board member coach is not certified and not on the ground to prepare the boxers?

♦ Why is Nigeria not with a full complement of her boxing team at the African Games in Ghana

♦ If any of these would yield any conviction or an indictment, would there be commensurate punishment?

♦ Will boxing ever have a leadership credible and focused enough to bring the sport back to its glory days?

To salvage the career of thousands of pugilists as well as the image of our beloved nation in the international boxing community, the Hon. Minister of Sports Senator John Enoh, must as a matter of urgency probe and permanently bring to an end the unabating mendaciousness in the (NBF).

Photo: MAXIM CLAES

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