THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPORTS IN NIGERIA

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THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPORTS IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The Nigerian Army have been deeply involved in the development of sports in Nigeria. However it s clear the kind and degree the impact that Nigerian Army have on the development of sports. This study was therefore, conducted to find out the impact of the Nigerian Army in the development of sports in Nigeria. For the purpose of this study, the impact was examined in terms of sports programme, sports facilities, sports personnel, sports competitions and funding. A self – developed and validated questionnaire on the impact of the Nigerian Army was administered to 254 randomly selected respondents with different ranks from the Nigerian Army Directors Physical Training. The result of the study shows that the Nigerian Army had a significant impact on the development of sports training programme, sports facilities and equipment, sports personnel, sports competitions and funding of sports in Nigeria. It  is thus recommended that special units and formations that will be responsible for sports development should be created in the Nigerian Army. Athletes and coaches should be recruited by the Nigerian Army to boost its sports engagement in the future. In addition, the Nigerian Army should organize more training and competitions programmes to have a significant impact on the development of sports in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

The history and development of physical education in Nigeria will be incomplete without including the role the Nigeria Army had played in the development and promotion of sports in this country. The Nigerian Army is structures for the coordination of activities meant to ensure victory on the battle field. Today, these structures have taken the form of the permanent establishment to maintain peace and security in the eventuality of armed conflicts that are managed by professional military personnel (Akintunde, 2001). It is a popular saying that, “To be at peace we must prepare for war” In view of the above, each country the world over has a military establishment to avoid external and internal aggression and suppress internal conflict, (Ladani, 1988).

Apart from performing its roles, the Nigerian Army also assist in promoting sports generally in the country, by organizing its own sports competitions. In the same way, the Police, Prisons, Immigration and other Para-military structures have their sporting competitions. The Nigerian Army developed interest in sports right from the time they started taking part in the Empire Day Celebrations. That happened after the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorate in 1914 by Lord Luguard. The Nigerian Army then became fully involved in organized competitive sports. Sports have been found to be one of the most important avenues for the maintenance of physical fitness as the Physical Training Corps motto indicates: “Men Sana In Corpore Sano sounds mind in a sound body” (Butcher, 1979). One of the basic aims of sporting activities in the Nigerian Army is to supply the country with sportsmen and women for international sports competitions and maintain a physically fit and healthy condition. The modern Nigeria Army has one of the objectives in its sports

revolution the maintenance of healthy rivalry among troops for physical fitness (Uchenna, 2010).

History has shown that what could be regarded as the Nigerian Army or Military sports festival started as far as back as 1924 when regimental sports were held in Kaduna between 10th and 14th of November of that year. Another tournament was  held along with this competition for soldiers with disabilities in which five teams competed. There was elimination series before the finals for these competitions among the Military units and the zonal champions met at Kaduna for the finals (Adebiyi, 2007).

During this first competition, the whole European community in Kaduna was present, including the chief commissioner (later changed to Lieutenant Governor) of the Northern provinces to watch these sporting events. In 1925, the competition became very keen because that of the previous year served as an eye – opener both to those who took part and to those who did not. It must be emphasized here that it was not only in athletics that the Nigeria military took part. It took part in other sports, which have facilities and equipment. As the regular soldiers competed, so also soldiers with disabilities took on active part in the festivals.

This competition was organized annually but was interrupted between 1966 and 1970 due to the hostilities and uncertainties that engulfed the country. The festival was, however, re – introduced in 1970 in a more elaborate form and more sporting events were included. It festival took a new look in terms of organization and the provision of sporting facilities and equipment in 1972, the games became a bi – annual event. During these Games, all the formations and units of the Nigerian Army were involved. Sporting events, such as athletics (track and field), soccer, swimming, hockey, badminton, boxing, tennis, table tennis and basketball, featured prominently

in the competitions. Various trophies and cups were donated from the Nigerian Army authority. The rules governing the Games were patterned after those of the Olympic Games Rules and where necessary, some rules were modified to suit local conditions. There is a book of rules and regulations for the Nigerian Army Sports Week, which serves as a guide and the contents were subjected to amendments if and when necessary (Chado, 1990). However, the military as the term implies included the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force. Sports and the  military are inseparable because of the longstanding relationship between the two. A notable example was the role that sport had played in different cultures, particularly during the two world wars (Butcher, 1983)

The Nigerian regiments took part in the two world wars and went to Congo to keep peace. In 1955, the Nigerian Forces were constituted into a separate command, and on April 11, 1958, the control of Nigerian Forces was surrendered by the British war officers to the government of Nigerian. January 15thof every year has been fixed as the Nigerian Army day in commemoration of the Nigerian soldiers who died  during the Second World War and the Nigerian Civil War (Uchenna, 2010).During world war, sports had been revolutionized due to the industrial revolution that started in England. Therefore, during the two world wars, soldiers were engaged in sporting activities at intervals for recreation and fitness. Towards the end of the war, sport was used as an integral part of the military medical rehabilitation programme. After the war, the discharged soldiers, who came back from rehabilitation programme, used the sports skills they had learnt in the war front to organize sporting activities in their various communities (Okaro, 1997). Some of the Nigerian Army star athletes who contributed worldwide, in and outside of the country in terms of sports were people like Major Emmanuel Ifeanyiwa, a gold medalist in high jump at the Commonwealth

Games at Cardiff in 1954, Major Abbas Mohammed, SgtDaniel Yelme will always be remembered in the Marathon race, SsgtPeter Rufai, KadiriIkana, Stephen Keshi, Warrant Officer Mohammed Lawal (JB) and Charles Ngedo (Tunisia) in the field of soccer. Athletes like Major AjayiAbidoye represented the country in the 100m, 200m, 1500m, and 10,000 meters races; ObisiaMwapa was a Gold Medalist in the 1974 Christ Church, New Zealand Commonwealth Games and was a famous boxer of international reputation (Ladan 1988). Andehlight weight, Eddie Ndukwu Feather weight, 1974 Warrant Officer Kehinde Aweda (54kg) also won a Silver medal in 1995, Ssgt SegunAjose won a Gold medal in South Africa in 1999, Isaac Ekpoa light heavyweight (81kg) took part in 2000 Olympics and in 2004 summer Olympics. Samuel Peter, the former WBC heavyweight Champion that year? Also won the Nigerian amateur heavyweight championship and took part in 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. In the Nigerian National Team of Boxing the following boxers had taken part vigorously, Sunday Owei, IfeanyiOnwumere and Joel Eseshe (Eboyi, 2002). This anecdotal record clearly indicates the significant role the Nigerian Army has been playing in the promotion and development of international sports in Nigeria. However, there has not been any research evidence to show the impact of the  Nigerian Army on sports development in Nigeria. This investigation was, therefore, an attempt to find out the impact that Nigerian Army have made on sports in Nigeria.

Statement of the problem

Nigerian Army Training and the level of fitness of Nigerian Army personnel are a major prerequisite towards sports excellence in the sector. Today, the Military has realized the need and necessity from the lesson learnt in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the USA, where ASP Chioma Ajunwa of the Nigerian Police Force brought glory to the Nation and the uniformed men and women in particular. In this regard, the Nigerian Army today have reviewed its policy towards sports development by freely allowing all its sports personnel to have free seasonal training with all the incentives and with less regimental duties (Fatile, 1982).

The impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports cannot be ignored in Nigeria, most especially in the maintenance of the fitness of its personnel  at a times unfit? Calls for continued physical exercises that will assist them in discharging their duties effectively and efficiently. The former Chinese Premier stated that sports and physical activities are fully military affairs as well as for its citizens. Ihejireka (2010) agrees with this opinion and stated that physical exercises is a bedrock of every military training and for that every soldier needs a dose of it at all times in other to maintain a certain level of fitness, as the profession may demand.

Over the years, the researcher noted with dismay the impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports in Nigeria. It was observed that there was a significant potential setback on sports in the armed forces in Nigeria. There are lack  of adequate provision of standard sports facilities and equipment, unqualified and inexperienced and incompetent personnel and coaches and inadequate provision of funds. It is expected that by now Nigerian Army sports would have contributed positively on the level of promoting sports in Nigeria. It was not certain as to whether the absence of the facilities, Funding, and Personnel outlined earlier is responsible for

the setback of the Nigerian Army sports development. Thus, this study was conducted to ascertain their impact on the development of sports in Nigeria.

    Research question

The research work was conducted to answer the following research questions:

  1. What is the impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports in Nigeria?
  2. What is the impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports facilities in Nigeria?
  3. What is the impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of the personnel for sports in Nigeria?
  4. What is the impact of the Nigerian Army on the organization of sports competitions in Nigeria?
  5. What is the impact of the Nigerian Army on the Funding of Sports in Nigeria?

    Purpose of the study

The purpose of this research was to find out about the impact of the Nigerian Army on:

  1. The development of sports programs in Nigeria.
  2. The development of sports facilities in Nigeria.
  3. The development of the personnel for sports in the Nigerian Army.
  4. The impact of funding for sports development in the Nigerian Army.
  5. The periodic sports meeting /competitions.

Basic assumptions

For the purpose of this study, the following assumptions were made:

  1. It is assumed that there is a significant impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports in Nigeria.
  2. It is assumed that there is a significant impact of the Nigerian Army on the provision and development of a sports facilities and equipment in Nigeria.
  3. It is assumed that there is a significant manpower in terms of coaches in various sports that will enhance sports development in Nigeria.
  4. It is assumed that there is adequate funding on sports development in the Nigerian Army
  5. It is assumed that there is a periodic Nigerian Army organized sports competition in Nigeria.

                        Hypotheses

For the purpose of this research, the following hypotheses have been formulated;

        Major hypothesis:

There is no significant impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports in Nigeria.

                      Sub hypotheses

1           There is no significant impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports in Nigeria.

  • There is no significant impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports facilities in Nigeria.
  • There is no significant impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of the personnel for sports in Nigeria.
  • There is no significant impact of funding on the Nigerian Army sports development in Nigeria.
  • There is no significant impact of the Nigerian Army on sports competitions in Nigeria.

        Significance of the Study

This study is justified on the following basis:-

  1. Although the Nigerian Army have been actively participating in the organization of sports in Nigeria, its impact on the program in Nigeria is not clear. The result of this study will indicate the contribution of the Nigerian Army to sports development in Nigeria.
  2. The findings of this study would reveal the impact of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports personnel.
  3. The results of the study world reveal the impact of the Nigerian Army on man power development in terms of coaches that will enhance sports activities in Nigeria.
  4. The study would show the contribution of the Nigerian Army on the development of sports in Nigeria.

                        Delimitation

This study was delimited to the impact of the Nigerian Army on sports development. At the time of this study, the subjects for the study were the sports secretaries of the Nigerian Army, the coaches and sports administrators who managed the affairs of sports in the Nigerian Army.

1. Development of sports, for the  purpose  of  this  study,  included  training programs for athletes & coaches, sports personnel, facilities and the organization of sports competitions in the Nigerian Army.

.2. For the purpose of this study the Headquarters  of the Directorate of Army  Physical Training and School, Zaria, the Nigerian Defense Academy, and Command and Staff College Jaji Zaria, Kaduna were included in this study.

                        Limitation of the Study

The study had the following limitation in the interpretation of its results:-

  1. It was not possible to include all sports associations in the study because of the limited participation of the Nigerian Army in some sports like Archry, Dambe&Langa.
  2. It was not possible to include the athletes of all the sports as respondents, as it was not possible to contact them due to the fact that is not always together in a particular destination.
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