by Stanley Azuakola
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has become one of the most visible institutions in the country, a situation which various pundits have criticised time and time again. From donating to bomb blast victims, to universities, to flood victims, and now to Nigeria’s senior national male football team, the Super Eagles, Sanusi’s CBN keeps making the news and in the opinion of some, deviating daily from its core mandate.
However, the CBN does not agree with that assessment. Speaking on Thursday in Abuja, the CBN said that it would give the Super Eagles the necessary support that will make them emerge as world-beaters.
“We have our core mandate and what we do is in the context of corporate social responsibility.
“What we are doing is to help develop the society, so that we can have a stable economy, bearing in mind that we have our core mandate which is printing of currency,’’ said the CBN’s director, Corporate Communications Department, Ugochukwu Okoroafor.
He said this at the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) while announcing the bank’s contribution to sports development in the country.
Okoroafor expressed concern over the drop in the performance of the Super Eagles in recent years. According to him, “Just as they say politics is too serious to be left for politicians alone, so is sports too serious to be left to sports people alone. Everybody should get involved and that is why we are here.
“In soccer, we used to be number four in the world and for us not to be even fourth in Africa means we have to find out what the structural challenges are.
“We are no longer a strong force in athletics and can’t compare with Jamaica and you know Jamaica can’t match Nigeria in terms of size and population.
“Most of the people running for Jamaica came from Nigeria. So, we have it and we used it in the days of Chidi Imo, Falilat Ogunkoya and others,” Okoroafor said.
Perhaps anticipating reactions from Nigerians on the CBN’s intervention in football, Okoroafor said that the support being shown to the Eagles and football in general was just a replica of what the CBN had done to golf and tennis that have produced talents for the country.
He revealed that the CBN has more plans, as it intends to also support the Beach Soccer Competition scheduled to take place at Jabi, Abuja, in November.
The CBN executive was received by Mohammed Sanusi, the NFF’s director of Competitions, who
solicited for CBN’s support for the Super Eagles.