My involvement in 2018 MIGA
The opportunity was created by the Honourable Minister of Interior and supported by the Permanent Secretary. When it came on the predication that one has been on the sports industry for a while, it became a challenge to put in the highest level of professionalism in order to deliver the games in accordance with the global best practices. As soon as we took off, we decided that our benchmark should meet international best practices in sport events organization and management.
In the course of selecting the main organizing committee, then, later in the breaking of the organizing committee into sub committees that did the day-to-day operations, we developed marketing and operational plans. And in all those arrangements, we started by doing small analysis of the first edition. This is to make sure we did not get ourselves enmeshed in the weaknesses of the previous edition. We also consolidated on the strength of the first edition, then created another opportunity for innovations. So, when we introduced the innovations, we discovered that it was even easier to put together the events.
First the challenge of funding was kept aside, so that we can focus on the 2018 edition and develop a marketing program for 2020. This is because, in sports management, if you don’t follow the processes involved in brand marketing, you will be embarrassed at the end of the day. So, we decided that we are going to look for more donations, partnership and sponsorships. So we got the Para-Military services involved as well as the Ministry and the Board.
They were meant to be the first segment that will contribute resources for a successful 2018 edition. What gave us advantage in the 2018 edition planning and organization is the selection of the workforce, which had no sentiments rather than competence, in terms of capacity and technical know-how.
Developing schedule ahead the Games
Like I told you, we conducted an analysis of the past edition and discovered that the welfare of athletes and officials allowances was not properly catered for in the first edition. We decided to make sure that such gaps are actually filled. Having done so, we looked at the calendar of sports nationwide and slotted the Mega at an advantage position; where it will not disturb people from preparing for the National Sports Festival and at the same time not interfere with the primary schedules of paramilitary agencies that gave us full support.
At the meeting of the board, all the force services, excluding the police, were in attendance. The honourable Minister, as Chairman of the Board of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, Immigration, Fire and Prisons Services also gave his political weight and authority on the needs of the games first. Apart from the benefit of inter-relationships amongst the agencies, the Games also projected the agencies as people-oriented and also a platform that will allow the agencies to contribute to the development of sports nationwide. We explored areas that will bring sports to limelight and developed them as a brand, to make sure they will be substantive and attractive enough for sponsorship in subsequent editions.
Level of participation and performances
I am satisfied with the competitive nature of the games, in terms of how keenly the top three teams are contesting. Mind you, 60%of participants in the games were National Athletes. 30% of them are active international athletes. And so, the dominance of NSCDC has been reduced; as compared to the first edition, because of the engagement of active service men that have been given the task to develop, because everybody wants to bridge the gap. The image of Civil Defence has been built and raised to a very high level in the nation, as compared to services that have been in existence much earlier.
It is now a battle of supremacy in terms of quality of athletes, which is now attached to quality of delivery by services of their primary mandate. In the last edition, I am sure you might have noticed that the Civil Defence did not go to bed with their eyes closed, because the intrigues, the antics, management of athletes developed by the Civil Defence, is beginning to be uncovered by other agencies, so I expect that, as more editions come by, Civil Defense may have to work harder; in order to enjoy the dominance they have started.
If you observed, the contingent in the 2015 edition had a great number of paramilitary agencies participating. What has dwindled a little bit is that of the Nigerian police. If you look at the development of sports in pre and post independence, you will find out that the Nigerian police are a recurrent decimal. But today, pocketful of champions, the ones that are available in the Nigerian police, have skills greater than the good number that exists in the Civil Defense.
Immigration and Prisons are also beginning to raise their flags to the level of recognition in sports. That’s why this platform is very heavy for sports development at the level of the elites. What we have is not grassroots sports, it is an elites sports. By and large, the MIGA games has added to the number of high profile competitions in the country, which means in a space of two years, the Nigerian athletes will not be sleeping. They will be preparing for one competition or the other and that is good for the Nigerian athletes. It will help them to prepare for any eventuality and be ready, especially when the international competitions come.
Overall import of MIGA
The beauty of this festival and its advantage in promoting cordialities between the Nigerian populace and the uniform people, is that they will diffuse into states and cease to bear the identities of their services. So, they have also provided another platform to raise the pride of officers in the communities and states they will represent. That is what we want to cash on to tell Nigerians that they are human faces in these paramilitary agencies.