Senator John Owan Enoh, the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, has outlined his vision for advancing polo in Nigeria after engaging with the Nigeria Polo Federation (NPF) leadership.
As part of his efforts to revitalize and strengthen sports in the country, the Minister has been actively meeting with various sports federations to align on a shared vision.
Recognizing the prominence of polo, particularly in Northern Nigeria, Senator Enoh emphasized its potential for growth and nationwide recognition. He emphasized his administration’s focus on grassroots development, social inclusivity, and economic progress, culminating in a roundtable discussion with the NPF on November 15th.
“We need to actively promote and develop polo in the North, where the sport holds significant sway,” Senator Enoh stated. “The Ministry is committed to ensuring social inclusiveness across various societal strata, irrespective of class or political standing.”
Expressing the Ministry’s readiness to collaborate closely with the NPF, Senator Enoh called for an administrative secretary to be assigned to the federation, facilitating seamless cooperation toward their shared objectives.
Challenging the President and Executives of the Polo Federation to drive developmental initiatives, the Minister urged them to present plans focused on youth inclusivity and attracting foreign investment.
“As we aim for increased private sector involvement, establishing a national polo playground becomes imperative,” Senator Enoh emphasized.
Nura Kangiwa, the President of the Nigeria Polo Federation, highlighted Nigeria’s standing as one of the largest polo-playing nations globally, boasting 27 clubs, 33 polo fields, and over 750 players. Despite this, challenges persist.
“While perceived as a sport for the affluent, most players are sponsored,” Kangiwa clarified, addressing misconceptions about polo’s demographics.
Discussing setbacks faced by the Federation, Kangiwa emphasized the need for a national playing ground, citing the scarcity of accessible fields apart from privately owned ones and those under specific associations.
Moreover, Kangiwa pointed out the impact of African Horse Sickness (AHS) on attracting foreign players and their ponies to Nigeria, urging the government’s intervention to mitigate the disease’s threat and bolster foreign investments.
Responding to concerns about AHS, Senator Enoh pledged collaboration across relevant ministries and agencies to create a conducive environment for ponies in Nigeria.
Abdul Karim Jibril, Vice President of the NPF, highlighted the Federation’s requirement for government support in training match officials and players.
Concluding the meeting, Senator Enoh urged the NPF to devise strategies not only to elevate polo but also to contribute significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He announced plans for a working visit to Northern Nigeria to foster greater polo development.