October 1, 2023

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Owan Enoh As Sportsman, Administrator

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Between last night when Senator John Owan Enoh was announced as the new sports minister and now, many people have bared their mind on what they know and do not know about the man from Etung, Cross River State. While some have advertised their ignorance, others have merely expressed pessimism about the capability and capacity of the former university lecturer to lead and transform the sports ministry.

If some of the reactions were amusing and understandably laughable, a few were indeed egregious. One reporter even cast a provoking headline when he said ‘Eno Who?’ And then he went on to take comments from people who obviously do know Senator John Owan Enoh.


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Maybe the reporter wanted to make a mockery of the new minister of sports. Just maybe. Or, maybe not. Where I come from, there is a saying that it is only those who go out at night that understand the language of spirits. Therefore, it is only those who have experienced how Owan Enoh managed the finance as well as the appropriation committees of the House of Representatives and the senate respectively, even when he had no knowledge of and training in finance matters, that can attest to his abilities and capacity.

Those who think that they do not know Owan Enoh as a stakeholder in the sports world may need to answer this question: what is a sports minister expected to do in his official capacity? To get into the football field and kick the ball? Or to jump into the river and swim, or to get into the stadium for some field and track events? Does he necessarily need to have been part of the Dream Team to convince minions about his capacity in sports administration? Certainly none of the above.

Ben Okri it was, who once said that “the most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” For those who did not know, Owan Enoh fits into Mahatma Gandhi’s description of capacity. And Gandhi holds that “strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” This will is what Owan Enoh has in sufficient dose. It is this will that has buoyed his performances in all the public offices he has held since 1999 when he first won election into the Cross River State House of Assembly.


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But let’s even look at his knowledge of sports. And what is sports? If it is correct, that sports as defined by the Oxford Languages Dictionary is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment,” then Owan Enoh qualifies to be called a sports person. If it is true that a sportsman is also a person who behaves in a good or specified way in response to teasing, defeat, or a similarly trying situation,” Owan Enoh also fits in. Those who never knew these aspects of the senator’s life may have to ask questions.

Tinubu’s choice of Owan Enoh to administer the sports ministry, therefore, is a blessing. What he is expected to do is administration of the nation’s sports sector. What Nigerians expect from the new minister is a born again sports ministry, where results would be seen, where all stakeholders will get to see the kind of leadership they have not seen ab initio. What sports loving Nigerians expect to see in Owan Enoh, is a man who will be able to galvanise all the strengths and competencies of all sportsmen and women in the country, of all the coaches and gladiators and turn them into laurels for the country.

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What Nigerians expect to see is a man who has a functional brain, a man who thinks straight, a man who goes for results, a man who can inspire, a man who leads from the front, a man who will not steal funds meant for sports development.

A poet, Ayn Rand, once said that wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. The expected success of the nation’s sports ministry will be dependent on the capacity to think. And Owan Enoh is a deep thinker, a positive thinker that is.


He is not just that. Owan Enoh has a very calm mien and demeanour and is not easily provoked. He is a team player and knows how to work with all kinds of human beings to achieve desired results. These are rare attributes that would count for him as he runs Nigeria’s sports ministry.

Owan Enoh does not need to have an experience as a football coach to know how to lead the experts who know how to give the nation the desired results. What Nigeria needs is a sports ministry with clearly defined policies for the various sports associations, a ministry that all stakeholders will be proud to identify with, a ministry that will bring glory to the nation.

Those who did not know should wait to see the Owan Enoh magic in the sports ministry.

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