According to President Muhammadu Buhari, football continues to be the most popular sport in Nigeria and a national treasure. He therefor declared that his administration would fight any efforts to impede its advancement.
This was said by Buhari upon receiving the 10-year Football Development Masterplan on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 in Abuja from Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
He gave the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development instructions to start the implementation process in stages.
According to him, this should be done within the strict limitations of the pertinent provisions of the Nigerian legislation on sports development and the FIFA statutes.
The president affirmed the following while referring to football as “our passion and a significant tool for unity”:
”It is the responsibility of the government to safeguard the sport, which has brought Nigeria many laurels, and treat it as a national asset.
”Indeed, just as I expect and demand a higher standard of patriotism, responsibility and commitment from those charged with the administration of our football.”
Buhari also urged all stakeholders to work together constructively and patriotically.
”We have seen attempts to disrespect and undermine the institutions supervising our sports.
‘ ‘We have seen attempts to subjugate national interest for narrow interest or disrespect the laws of Nigeria. Nigeria will not take lightly any attempt to inflict injury on its football fortunes”
“This government is interested in developing a football culture that will accommodate global best practices.
“This will also help the nation to lay a solid foundation for domestic football and to put in place professionally and efficiently run leagues.
“It will also help in entrenching a consistent and stable football calendar and create a value chain which will boost the sports ecosystem,” Buhari said.
He said that achieving this will guarantee desired progress in continental and international competitions.
“The president said: ‘I know that a lot of work went into putting this 10-Year Masterplan together.
“I received regular briefings on the work being done and I am happy that our goal has been achieved.”
The Nigerian leader expressed delight that the Masterplan enjoyed the inputs of a wide range of stakeholders in football.
“I am equally happy that the Nigeria Football 10-Year Masterplan (2022-2032) identified 15 Key Areas of challenge.
“It has also provided practical recommendations to address these fundamental problems that have bedeviled football development in the country.
“The implementation of the short term and medium term plans should commence.
“I believe this will signal a positive turning point for our football and a major step forward in our bid to create a conducive environment for its sustainability, viability and profitability.
“The Nigeria Football Federation, the body charged with the development of our football is directed to own and commence the implementation of this master plan under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.”
The Sports Minister declared that throughout the course of the last seven years, the Buhari administration has given the NFF more than N15 billion in budgetary appropriations and presidential interventions.
He praised the president for paying attention to the country’s football development and for creating a strong basis for the game’s expansion.
The 10-year Masterplan, which took the 16-member Committee headed by Ibrahim Galadima six months to complete, was referred to by the minister as “a world class document.”
He claimed that if the guidelines outlined in the Football Masterplan were carried out as prescribed and placed Nigerian football on a very solid foundation, it would rank among the finest in the world.
The adoption of the Plan, he continued, would address most concerns regarding the domestication of Nigerian laws, bringing NFF Statutes into compliance with FIFA Statutes, and paving the way for peaceful interactions throughout this nation’s football value chain.