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Nigeria And The All Africa Games (2), By Prof Emmanuel Ojeme

WITHOUT doubts and to the glory of God, the 13th edition of the All Africa Games is steaming and rolling in Accra, Ghana. And the youths of Africa in their various sports specialities are dishing out high octane athletic performances in the bid to win laurels for themselves and fatherland. The summative narration of the 13th All African Games is posted on the medals table of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, respectively.

This writer has taken keen interest on this table as reported in the first article, with particular reference to Nigeria, as the giant of Africa. This interrogation continues in this second article, more so, as Egypt seems to dwarf other participating nations in the 13th All Africa Games medals’ table. There is no catching up with Egypt in this edition of the event. Meanwhile, the Paris Olympic Games is around the corner in July, 2024. Will the performances of African nations at the African Games be a pretest to what to expect at the Paris Olympics? This is a critical point that scholars and researchers need to interrogate. What is of central focus to this article is an attempt to pigeonhole Nigeria’s area of strength in the Accra Games and to aggregate needed reforms in Nigeria’s sports development strategies with a view to propelling Nigeria to the greater heights that is coterminous with her status as the giant of Africa.

The foregoing Table shows the top ten nations in the 13th edition of African games as at 22nd March, 2022. Egypt as stated, dwarfs all participating nations including the giant of Africa, Nigeria. The take home point is that Nigeria has shown dominance in her traditional areas of strength viz track and field, wrestling, boxing and weight lifting.


Performances in these sports are apparently not enough to close the gap between Nigeria and Egypt. This gap is intimidatingly wide and curtailing of our joy in the games. As the giant of Africa, Nigeria has the burden of proof of this status in the sports arena. It is the submission of this article that Nigeria must rewire and re-engineer its sports development to elicit the productivity level that would enable it surpass Egypt or any other nation to occupy the number one position. This is the task for political leadership in Nigeria and sports development professionals. Nigerian leaders must reject a dwarfish second position at the African Games as the giant of Africa. It is doable. The task of reform of the sports development strategy should involve a decision by the Nigerian government to become number one in sports in Africa. Accordingly:

1. The Federal Ministry of sports should set up a professional organisation to be known as the National Sports Commission (NSC). This organisation would redesign Nigeria’s sports development policy for greater productivity.

2. Integrate sports in the school system vertically

3. Diversify the sports programmes to consolidate areas of strength and reinforce all the sports events in the menu of the African Games. Nigeria must develop her swimming potentials amongst others

4. Investment in sports infrastructure, athletes and personnel

5. There must be a deliberate effort to connect athletes in all sports to schools and vocational centres.

6. States and local governments should establish well-funded sports commissions and sports councils with integrated athletes development programmes

7. Research, knowledge development and innovations in sports involving experts and think-tanks for improved sports practices. The profiling of athletes data from bottom-up in all sports would yield a national data bank of athletes.

8. Sports practices and outputs must be subjected to national and international standards.

Given Nigeria’s population, diversity of geography and resources, it should not play a dwarfish second fiddle at African Games, with an eye at the Olympics. This is the meaning and expectation of the giant of Africa status.

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