After the dismal outing of Team Nigeria at the just concluded Tokyo Olympics, the bulk of golf icons in the county all came into agreement that the time was now right for the nation to reposition its sports priorities.
One of the Icons, General JS Bindawa, who was a former member of the Nigeria Golf Federation, even added that the nation was never having any back door when making sporting deals by devoting most of its resources to football and athletics while the game of golf which could fetch over ten gold medals in Olympics was left unattended to.
“They say golf has its own federation but I can’t see it,” Bindawa said. “I say this because the government never allocates any funds to that body. As at the last time I had a look at that body called Nigeria Golf Federation, I noticed clearly that it was the Federation’s former President and presently Caretaker Committee Chairman, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, that has been spending his personal money to keep the federation’s secretariat running.
“And we are now talking about golf that has an overflow of talented youths in every corridor of the nation, You will not even believe that the government is not doing anything to harness the talents of these youths. This is grossly unfair.
“I can recall how I put the lots of the youths on my hands alone for years. I selected great talents from across all regions of this country and was taking them to youth tournaments across the world at my own expense. I was doing this with the belief that the federal sports ministry would lend a helping hand at some point. But all this, to no avail.
“I equally learned that on two occasions the youths were sponsored to international meets so that their talents could be harnessed, it was this same Prince Oyinlola who paid from his pocket to ensure the nation participated in those meets. Now, tell me how do you grow the game in this harsh manner.
“What I cannot even understand is that rather than the government giving to golf which is the next big thing in the world, funds are mostly devoted to football and athletics. And mark you, even football did not make it to the Olympics despite the huge funds spent on it. And if we are thinking athletics would come to the fore to bring us glory at the Olympics, then we are getting things wrong. Golf is the right path I see at the moment.”
But when contacted, Golf Federation Caretaker Committee Chairman, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is never given to any height of pretentiousness, but always in halo of peace and tranquillity, said flatly that in as much as he would not want to be joined in confrontation with anyone, he however believes that the total neglect of the game of golf is rather unfortunate.’’