SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH DEVELOPMENT OF SPORTS FACILTIES IN RURAL AND URBAN COMMUNITIES
P. G. Akintunde (PhD)
V. O. Akintunde (Mrs.)
Department of Vocational and Special Education
University of Calabar, Calabar.
Cross River State, Nigeria
One of the most important factors to consider in planning any sports programme is facility. Despite its importance enough attention is not accorded it in our community. The negligence couple with many other factors has contributed immensely to inadequate or lack of provision and development of sports facilities in both our rural and urban communities. Other factors such as prevailing economic situation in Nigeria, religion, land tenure system, politic, geographical location and the climate, socio-cultural background, the level of health awareness of individuals and the influence of pressure groups were examined along with facilities, suggestions were made for the development of sports facilities and precaution towards workability of the suggestions were given.
Keywords: Sports facilities problems and solutions.
The basic consideration in the development of any sports is the availability of adequate facilities (indoor and outdoor) for use when needed. Ideally there should be provision of sufficient indoor and outdoor facilities in both our communities and schools; obviously this is not the case in Nigeria. The question now arises, how do we provide sports facilities in our communities?
To start with, we should not forget that our academic institution, voluntary organizations, clubs, industries, firms and corporations are all operating within the community. For example our institutions of learning are responsible to government and are also aiming at achieving the societal goals with the hope of meeting and satisfying the community needs and interests. Sports have a culture that relates to the culture of the societies, hence, it is a means of culture integration.
When developing sports programmes for a particular population, the community should be the real focus of decision making. The planning of such programme should therefore reflect the needs and interest of the community in line with the prospect of having facilities for the programme. Development of sports facilities can only be embarked upon after an outline of sports policy and programmes has been made. It is therefore of worth to first discuss the problems facing the development of sports facilities in Nigeria’s urban and rural communities
The prevailing economic situation in Nigeria has contributed a lot to the problems facing individual and every community today. The major task now is how to obtain enough money to bridge the gap between the amount and quality of needed sports facilities and the available financial support. The economy of a community has a great impact on the quantity and quality of sports facilities it can afford and develop. An economically weak community may find it difficult to provide and maintain sports facilities and equipment. In an economically viable community, sports facilities will enjoy strong economic support if such community is sports conscious.
Religion may have influence on the sports interest of a community and this will eventually reflect on the provision and development of sports facilities in such community. A few religious groups frown at certain activities such as social dancing and swimming. The latter is frowned upon because dress use in its participation expose too much of the sacred parts particularly woman. Since sports facilities need to be backed with facilities developing, facilities in such community with the bulk of the population not being interested are a waste.
Land Tenure System
The land tenure system in Nigeria most especially in the southern part has also been creating a lot of problems not only for agricultural production but also in developing sports facilities. The impact is more felt in the urban communities where there is no proper and effective town planning. Land owners sell their land without much consideration for playing or recreational spaces. All they want is money and little consideration is given to welfare of the users. The worst happening in the spaces available are either used to build residence or shops by members of the family (clan) that owns it.
Politics has a role to play in development of sports generally. This is especially true in civilian regime. The interest and priority of a political party may determine the progress of sports programme and the facilities for them. Politicians who are deeply interested in sports will definitely be interested in developing sports facilities. However, a politically motivated community programmes for development of sports facilities may suffer at a time of change in political situation if the other side in power is not interested in such a programme.
Geographical and Climate Consideration
The geographical location and the climate of a community may be influencing factors in the development of sports facilities. An area endowed with many rivers (reverine area) and plenty of water would be expected to develop sports facilities for aquatic sports due to its natural endowment.
In Nigeria for example, due to the climatic and topographic condition of Mambilla in Taraba State, the federal government has established a games village for training athletes in endurance sports for international competitions. The natural endowment of an environment would determine the activities of interest to local residents. Thus, it is better to determine the activities and interests of a community in relation to its climate and topography. This will even enable the community to conserve the available fund to develop the facilities and influence sports interest in proportion to the demography of the place (i.e. the population composition of the community). In doing this, the social class (status), races, nationalities, wealth educational backgrounds, ages and gender of the residents should be given consideration before planning sports facilities. It may be very difficult to develop sports facilities in a low socio-economic area especially in the inner city due to the likely financial constraints and some other factors such as availability of land, maintenance and sustenance of such facilities for continuity. For example, places like Bodija estates in Ibadan, Oyo state and festac in Lagos state are well planned with enough consideration for playing and recreation spaces, but contrary to the case when comparing places like Gege and Ajegunle in Oyo and Lagos States respectively.
The attitude of people to sports programme is a factor that can influence development of sports facilities. A community may be interested in sports programme but unwilling or unable to spend much on it if sport is not its priority. In an area with low socio-economic standard, a lot of individuals may not be able or willing to contribute financially to the development of sports facilities
The level of health awareness of the individuals in a community may determine the acceptance of ports programme and willingness to develop sports facilities. In America, a lot of people are now running physical fitness programme to keep them fit and health. A community that cherishes the health of its individuals would not mind the cost of developing sports facilities. Where a community is not aware of the relationship between physical fitness and sound health, little concern would be given to development of sports facilities.
The influence of pressure groups on a community may be utilized to develop sports facilities since they are forces to be reckoned with in the society.
All the factors discussed above can either help or mar any attempt to develop sports facilities in any community if they are not given proper consideration.
The Way Forward
How can we develop sports facilities in our community?
Sports facilities can be developed by various bodies in the community provided the goals and objective are understood.
An individual in a community can embark on developing sports facilities. A philanthropist especially sports lover may take a decision to reflect his/ her love for sports. Notable examples are late Chief Adedoyin Ogundoyin who built a stadium and organized and sponsored a football club in his home town, Chief Raheem Adejumo, the president of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) has also made contribution in facility sports development and Chief M.K.O. Abiola who was a good example. Chief M.K.O. Abiola enthusiastic and love for sports with his contribution to sports won him the title “the pillar of sports in Africa”. People like these if well encouraged can build or contribute to building of standard facility.
In a situation where the development of sports facilities is too costly to afford by a single person, a joint effort may be sought. In this case, many sports lovers who have the means (capital ) and are willing to sponsor part or whole programmes can come together to develop sports facilities. Similarly, the individuals or philanthropists and the community may decide to levy themselves and join efforts in