Connect with us

Other Sports

Opinion: Nigeria Rugby Football Federation Decries NOC Double Standard





One sports federation, the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) out of the 31 sports federations in Nigeria must conduct its elections using its illegal constitution! This was the submission of Tunde Popoola, Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee during the aborted Rugby Federation election on June 13 at the National Stadium Abuja during the elections into all the 31 sporting federations in Nigeria.

One will wonder why the NOC Secretary General would want to use Rugby Federation as a guinea pig to experiment the conduct of the federation elections using a constitution.

The rugby federation alongside 30 other sports federations were listed for elections into their respective boards in Abuja using a guideline which was duly issued by the Ministry of Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee.


Meanwhile there was a caveat that any federation with an approved constitution by its stakeholders and which constitution does not suffer any illegality can be used in the place of the guidelines.

There were four federations with a constitution submitted to the Nigeria Olympic Committee. Three out of the four decided not to use their constitution, whilst one, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) decided to use its constitution and did its election in Kano on the 12 June while another faction did theirs in Abuja on the 13 June using the guidelines.

Rugby stakeholders assembled on the 13 June like every other federation to conduct its election using the approved guidelines by the ministry of sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee, but were prevailed upon by the NOC Secretary General, Tunde Popoola, who was an observer to use its constitution.

Majority of the rugby stakeholders objected and further informed him that there was no approved constitution, unfortunately he insisted that we must use the presented 2015 Constitution which was presented to him by the outgoing President, Edward Pam Fom. Eventually since they couldn’t have their way, Rugby’s election was postponed to a later date to be announced by the Ministry and NOC.

On the 22nd of June, the NOC Secretary General through his office sent all rugby stakeholders the said constitution through their email for consideration for the rescheduled election!


We wonder who is he working for, because he is not a rugby stakeholder and not the rugby federation’s secretary general who should be the one issuing such correspondences to its stakeholders! What is his interest in all these?


Background to the Constitution Crisis


The outgoing president had submitted a Rugby Constitution dated 2015 to the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the Rugby World Body as an approved Nigeria Rugby Football Federation Constitution.


However on further inquiry, it has been discovered that the purported constitution was never presented to members of the outgoing board of the NRFF or the Rugby stakeholders through its General Assembly for debate, amendment or adoption for that matter, as such it is not our valid constitution said one board member Hon. Mustafa Allah Dey.

Said he, “We have never seen the said 2015 NRFF constitution as board members neither have we approved it either!

Another board member Obum Dike collaborated this by explaining further that this purported constitution was never presented to the board members, but was sent out to the clubs and never approved by the general assembly which was held in January 2017.

This document was illegally and erroneously sent out to the NOC and rugby’s international body. Meanwhile the NOC and World Rugby have endorsed the constitution based on the false information given to them by the outgoing President that it was an approved constitution of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation.

Now that everyone has known the truth about the purported constitution as not being a legally binding document why then is the NOC Secretary General Tunde Popoola insisting on Rugby Federation using this illegal constitution to do its election?


Why is the NOC refusing to endorse the election of the NBBF faction that held its election in Kano using its constitution and why did they also endorsed the other two federations that opted to use the Ministry of Sports guidelines when they also submitted an approved constitution?

Meanwhile in the purported constitution in article 31:1 on how elections will be conducted, the document gives the ministry of sports the powers to conduct the election using their guidelines as an alternative to the constitution!

I am instrumental to the formation of the Rugby Federation in 1998. We had an approved constitution dated 2000 which we used to do our first election at inception and this document was presented to the NOC, Ministry of Sports and our international body by then the International Rugby Board.

This document alongside other documents which was required gave us an accelerated admission as a full member of the world body in 2001.

Thereafter the said constitution was amended with a 2006 edition which was also adopted and deposited with the NOC and world body. Another attempt was made by the Concession Board to review it in 2009, but it didn’t scale through.


But for the inaugural election in 2000 where we used the constitution, we have thereafter always used the Ministry’s of Sports election guidelines to conduct our Federation election including the one that brought in this outgoing board in 2013 November.

It is true that there is need to administer sporting federations with the best practice which is using their constitution which have to be in line with the international body’s guidelines and the country’s sports statutes. However, we should not get into illegality to administer best practice. In this case if the rugby stakeholders and even the board did not approve the said document then such document is a nullity!

What we see there is that the outgoing President disenfranchised most rugby stakeholders by operating a divide and rule administration, as can be seen with his board members disowning him. I’m told he operated with only 3 board members out of 13-member board and there was no board meeting since 2014 – 2017 which is an aberration.

He took away the secretariat from the Secretary General to his home in Jos. He then became the sole administrator, President, Treasurer, Financial Secretary and even the Disciplinary Committee Chairman. Some clubs were disqualified and subsequently not listed in his constitution thus cannot vote if we were to even consider such illegal document!

Best practice worldwide for sports and Nigeria in particular ensures 5 stratus of administration namely clubs, States, Federation, Continental and World bodies respectively.


Thus you can’t have clubs voting for a Federation President but State Rugby Association Chairmen which is what is on the Ministry’s election guidelines prescribed.

We therefore will like to kindly call on the Honourable Minister and the Nigeria Olympic Committee President to kindly prevail on the NOC Secretary General from pushing rugby into more problems with his insistence on the use of an illegal document to conduct our election.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading

Other Sports

Stolen Ferrari Recovered Almost 30 Years Later –



Stolen Ferrari Recovered Almost 30 Years Later -

A Ferrari Testarossa sports car stolen from Austrian Formula One driver Gerhard Berger during the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix weekend has been recovered by London police almost 29 years later.

The Metropolitan Police said on Monday the red F512M, worth some 350,000 pounds ($444,325.00), was tracked down in four days after Ferrari reported it was the one being sold through a British broker to a U.S. buyer.

Police enquiries found it was shipped to Japan shortly after being stolen from the Italian city of Imola and then arrived in Britain in late 2023.

The Organised Vehicle Crime Unit said enquiries were ongoing and no arrests had been made.

A second silver Ferrari F355 that belonged to Berger’s French former team mate Jean Alesi, which was stolen on the same weekend in the Italian city, remains missing.


Alesi finished second in the race won by Williams’ Damon Hill with Berger third, in the Ferrari drivers’ final season at the Italian team before the arrival of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.

Berger had caught the thief in the act of stealing his car but after jumping clear and then giving chase in a friend’s Volkswagen Golf, according to a news report at the time, was unable to prevent it from getting away.




Continue Reading





Nigeria’s Minster of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has congratulated the newly elected board of the Nigeria Olympic Committee NOC after a successful elective congress.

In a congratulatory message, Dalung hailed the delegates for conducting peaceful and credible elections and choosing leaders with passion for sports.

He charged the NOC to look at areas that have been abandoned like training of coaches and referees in other to return Nigeria’s sports sector to its rightful position.

“I congratulate you on the successful conduct of elections into the NOC board. The next step is to look at the development of manpower and technical hands. We need to train more coaches and update them with modern techniques of coaching. 

“The NOC must develop a partnership and also source for funds to ensure that we increase the number of coaches we have in Nigeria and ensure that they compete favorably with their counterparts in other countries.


“They should also ensure the training of referees, umpires and judges because of their role in global sports. Most times Nigerian referees and umpires are left out of the scheme of officiating at international competitions and that affects our result and performance outside the shores of Nigeria.”

The Minister had earlier in an opening remark at the NOC Annual General Meeting held at the Government House, Yola, urged state governments to contribute more to sports development by giving a percentage of their security vote to sports.

Dalung also used the occasion to thank Presidents of National Sports Federations and state Directors of Sports for their active role in ensuring a successful National Sports Festival in Abuja.

Continue Reading





On this week’s episode of AfricanVoices, CNN International explores the growing interest in contact sports in Africa by meeting athletes from Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal.

Growing up in Aiochi, Nigeria, UFC Fighter Kamaru Usman remembers how the struggles he faced as a child helped prepare him for the hard work it takes to be a champion.

He tells CNN: “I remember the streets, I remember having to walk what seemed like miles to fetch water from the wells with my grandmother. I recall the hard work that my family went through just to continue to live the lifestyle that we were living, which wasn’t by any means a great lifestyle.”

For Usman, a spiritual belief has helped him maintain his conviction, he explains: “I believe in fate. I believe in karma. For me, it’s whatever God has in store for me. If God said that this was how you get that title shot, I don’t want to be the guy to say, “Oh, well, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared.” I wanted to make sure that I was prepared because I don’t know God’s plan. Maybe God wanted me to get it a certain other way, but I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure thatI’m a champion.”

African Voices meets Usman in Dallas, Texas as he trains to become a champion. He tells CNN about the work he does to remain competitive: “I had to diet, I had to go through the whole training camp. I had to put my body through that stress and just the rigorous training that you go through. I went through all of it and then I had to step on the scale and make the weight.”


Usman not only trains to be successful but also helps encourage other athletes in Africa. He explains: “When it’s training time, we push each other and do anything to help each other and when it’s fight time we’re always there for each other. If I see you doing something that’s wrong or I see something that can help you change your game I’m going to always give those tips especially with another of my African brothers. We eat the same food, we come from the same walks of life, so it’s a different bond.”

On his future in the sport, Usman tells CNN about his aspirations: “In a couple years from now in this sport, I will be the champion.

“I would have defended the belt a few times. Secured or solidified my place in the hall of fame as one of the greatest to ever do this, and all the while inspiring not just Africans, but inspiring kids across the world that have a similar story to myself.”

Another athlete African Voices also meets is Women’s Flyweight and Bantamweight champion Amanda “Mad Dog” Lino from South Africa. She explains to CNN what encouraged her to be the champion she is today: “Something that really changed my life would have to be losing my f ather.

“You know that really brought focus and dedication into my life because going through a struggle and losing someone that you love would make you focus on what you need to on a day to day basis. I think that it’s most shaped me and made me realize that life wasn’t all about having fun and not focusing.”


Lino explains how criticism she faced encouraged her to work harder: “Everyone kept telling me girls are never going to be successful in MMA, it’s a man’s sport or it’s a boy’s sport… So being the competitive person or the one to push boundaries, I was like well no, I’m going to make sure that female athletes get into MMA and make a difference.”

The final athlete African Voices meets is Olympic Taekwondo athlete Balla Dieye from Senegal. He tells CNN about the challenges he has faced in the sport: “Before, when you start Taekwondo in Senegal it was very difficult because it’s not our culture. When you show some people, I make Taekwondo, they say, “What’s Taekwondo?” [they] thinks its karate. Because [they] see movies from Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. But now,it’s different now. We know this is karate, this is Taekwondo.”

Dieya tells the programme about his experience at one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world: “When I goto Olympics, I [was] training for six hours a day. And four hours for me is physical preparation and two hours is only from sparring…. We do all exercise here.  If you have your body very strong then you’re going to fight easy.You need flexibility, you need speed, and you need those strong, power for scoring.”

On his future hopes Dieye tells CNN: “I need Olympic medals now, this is dream for my taekwondo. In Senegal everybody waiting this medal. All sport. Everybody waiting the next medal for taekwondo, the next medal in Senegal. Why I [am] pushing a lot this new generation, I give my motivation, I give my time, I give my energy to make focus for this medal… I think the dream is coming soon.”

Continue Reading

Most Viewed