The Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Institute for Sports, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima wants to professionalize sports in Nigeria, through a technically formidable institution manned by world class professional manpower, with the right equipment and well maintained facilities. His thoughts: NIS and Sports Development over the years

Sports world wide have become progressively capital intensive; yet our history shows that government has almost single handedly shouldered the responsibility for sports development in Nigeria, especially when it comes to provision of sports facilities, programmes, personnel and participation in continental and global competitions. There is minimal private sector participation. Therefore, government is forced to invest part of its scarce resources on sports development.

Sports has become an important aspect of Nigerian culture so much that the interest in and popularity of sports have affected the political, social, economic and educational fabrics of our nation. Over the years, the National Institute for Sports has ensured that development of sports takes place in different aspects like personnel required to organize, administer and coach sports, provision of standard facilities and equipment, organization of sporting programmes. Since conception, the NIS has demonstrated its relevance in the training of Elite Athletes for international competitions, training of coaches and sports administrators, as well as conducting research in sports related areas. In fact, we have produced graduates, who have attained their career peak and hauled laurels, awards and medals for our country. Nigeria, over the years has made some impression able successes, it was this international sports successes that make the international communities, focus their attention to find out the secret of its performance and successes. The successes in Olympic gold and other successes in Olympic gold and other events recorded by our stars like Chioma Ajunwa, Fanny Amun, Blessing Okagbare, Mary Onyali and others were by a dint of hard work and innovation from the stable of the NIS. It is quite commendable that once in a while Nigeria has recorded brilliant successes in competitive sports at national and international levels. This is but a tip of the iceberg in the desired sports development objectives of the nation, because the success so far is limited to a few sports.


The world has become a “global village” and all countries and institutions must partner together in the area of sustainable development. Sport sector provides a significant opportunity for establishing partnerships for development; partnerships are particularly effective way to work with sport incorporating diverse actors from the private sectors and sport organizations at various scales. The implementation of sport for development programmer should be based upon strategic partnerships with range of stakeholder’s involved sports. Many sports for development programme are based on innovative partnerships among actors in the sector, including sport organization, government,   volunteers and non-governmental organizations (NGOS). Partnership in sport can bring about assistance in training and managerial aspects of sport and to actively address   issues of knowledge sharing and youth training in conjunction with efforts to enhance development through sport. Partnership provides strategic approach to source mobilization for sport. Remember, the NIS was founded in 1972 as a joint venture between Nigeria and Germany, with the mandate to train coaches and sports administrators.

Private sector funding of sports

They are effective ways to fund engaging sports organizations, private sector and sport philanthropists The lack of knowledge in attracting sports sponsorships has been the bane of sports institutions, not only the NIS; in getting corporate and individual sponsors to bankroll their activities. The immense presence of the corporate world in sports sponsorship in other parts of the world that provided structures on which those countries have programmed their preparations for international and domestic sports competitions. In order to co-operate and attain its objectives, a sports organization needs to have a functional set up that can implement sports development programme effectively. So, the Institute is working at developing the right template of partnership with the private sector in this country, to augment our meager resources to fund our programmes. The NIS alumni cooperation is also being sought to assist us not only in the area of funding, but publicity and getting sponsorships and endowment from Nigeria and foreign institutions. It is possible for us to revitalize our mutual assistance programmes with countries like Cuba, Russia, on exchange training, even research programmes, because the direction the world is going is that the institute cannot continue to solely depend on government for funding.

Grassroots Development

It is imperative to take up active sports from an early age. Unfortunately, sports development in Nigeria at the moment is not grassroots/mass participation-based with measured progression to the professional level. As an institution, the NIS believes that effective nation building efforts must include the active involvement of the youth, under the guidance and auspices of a cogent, well-articulated and wide reaching academic and practical driven training programmes. Even as we are barely one year old (the Governing Board was set up March 29, 2018), we are prepared to come out with such measures that will help ensure that our youths develop into patriotic citizens, indispensable to sustainable development. Many of the necessary core character building values can be imbibed through the NIS’ effective and structured sports programmes. It is imperative to take up active sports from an early age, as lessons learned from engaging in sports can be extremely positive as well as character defining and life changing.

Future Projections

The future of sports in the country could only be bright and become brighter, especially as the present Governing Council and management of the institute plan to produce a sports blueprint that would become our official developmental guide.

We look to a future of enhanced budgetary provision for sports at all levels of the government and other stakeholders, institutions/organizations, which will lead to provision of modern sports facilities and equipment throughout the nation to fast track sports development and encourage mass participation across all ages. With public and private sector cooperation, there should be scientific education and training for coaching, technical and administrative personnel and athletes, coupled with establishment of sport academies as developmental platforms and maintenance of a national sports information centre as a databank on sports researches and archives. Given the enormous natural and human resources in this country, the NIS Council and management hope Nigeria becomes the hub of sports in Africa arising from talents generated from sports centres in the local government areas and educational institutions. To be precise, NIS hopes to attract private sector oprators and individuals to finance sports up to 30% and to attract major international sporting events and exploit their benefits for   tourism industry and host and win major sporting events.

It is achievable too to professionalize sports in Nigeria, through a technically formidable institution manned by world class professional manpower, with the right equipment and well maintained facilities for sports development and job creation. There are immense opportunities in sports begging to be tapped, that in future, Nigeria could become one of the best twenty sporting nations in the world, the best sporting nation in Africa and the best four in the Commonwealth of Nations.

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