Abuja – Senator John Owan Enoh, the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, held a crucial meeting with the leadership of the Nigeria Polo Federation (NPF) on November 15, 2023, to discuss the development and promotion of polo in Nigeria.
Recognizing polo’s considerable popularity in the Northern part of the country, Senator Enoh emphasized the need for a comprehensive and socially inclusive approach to the game’s growth. He stated that the Ministry is committed to supporting all sports based on their prominence across different regions.
“We should see polo as socially inclusive,” Senator Enoh remarked during the meeting. He highlighted the Ministry’s dedication to working with the NPF to encourage and develop polo, particularly in the North, where the sport enjoys significant followership.
To facilitate this collaboration, Senator Enoh announced the immediate posting of an Administrative Secretary to the NPF, aiming for a seamless partnership in achieving common goals.
The Minister challenged the NPF’s leadership to bring forward initiatives for the development of polo sports in Nigeria. He called for a detailed document outlining strategies for youth inclusiveness, attracting foreign investors, and fostering private sector involvement, suggesting that a National Polo playground could be realized with increased private sector participation.
Nura Kangiwa, the President of the Nigeria Polo Federation, shared insights into the current state of the game in Nigeria. While Nigeria boasts 27 clubs, 33 Polo fields, and over 750 players, Kangiwa acknowledged the challenges faced by the Federation, particularly the perception that polo is exclusively a game for the wealthy.
Highlighting the need for a National playing ground, Kangiwa expressed that such a facility could position Nigeria to host international tournaments, including the Polo World Cup. He also addressed the issue of African Horse Sickness (AHS), which hampers foreign investments in Nigerian polo. He appealed to the government to take measures to eradicate AHS.
In response, Senator John Owan Enoh assured the NPF of the Ministry’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by AHS. He pledged collaboration with relevant ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Environment, to make Nigeria a safe haven for ponies.
Abdul Karim Jibril, the Vice President of the NPF, also stressed the Federation’s need for government support in training match officials and players.
In his closing remarks, Senator Enoh urged the NPF to initiate programs that would not only grow the sport of polo but also contribute to the nation’s GDP.
“We are coming to the North for Polo,” Senator Enoh declared.