One of the numerous takeaways of the first darts stakeholder’s summit held in Lagos on March 4, 2017 is the proposal of sports equipment company Unicorn to the Darts Federation of Nigeria to set up a darts academy in the country.
The plan of the British company was made known by its country representative Mr Joachim Idada, while delivering a paper on “The modern evolving trends of effecting new sport growth with darts as a case study” as one of the keynote speakers.
“I bring a message from Unicorn. I have been told to inform Darts Federation of Nigeria of their intention to set up an academy in Nigeria which will be called Unicorn Nigeria Darts Academy. It is now down to the federation to see how this can work out”.
Idada also advocated for darts to be included in the school curriculum for the growth of the sport as well as to help the children develop interest in mathematics as it has been found to be true in Britain.
In his own submission,the National Technical Director of Darts Federation of Nigeria, Mr Ayodeji Odidi, stated that effective communication and cohesion will help the sport to grow and sustain itself through critical committees like marketing, publicity/information, Legal and disciplinary and technical.
“For darts to grow in Nigeria, the climate of openness where hearing problems and matters of darts are not just appropriate but encourage, increase in communication has a circular relation with increase association cohesiveness”.
The need to make the media a critical stakeholder in the transition of darts from being just a mere game to a vibrant sport was emphasised by another keynote speaker and veteran sports journalist, John Joshua Akanji, who canvassed for a paradigm shift from all stakeholders in the way the sport is administered at present. He also advised the federation to look beyond the government for sponsorship.
“If we are going to rely on government to help us all the time, I am sorry, government itself needs help,” he said.
President of the Darts Federation of Nigeria, Dr Gaiya Haruna, thanked the organisers of the summit and commended the scholarship contributions of the chairman of the summit, Professor Oladele Kale, the vice chairman, Professor Tunde Makanju and Billy Akinsola, who was a former president of the federation.
He appealed to corporate Nigeria to partner the Darts Federation in their tournament coming up in June.
A representative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports,Mrs Mbora Ikana saluted the federation and the stakeholders for charting the way forward and pledged the continuous support of the ministry towards programmes of the federation.
The summit was not all about talk and speeches as particapants got a feel of the sport through demonstration by children,darters and novices.