The emergence of wife of Kwara Governor, Mrs. Olufolake AbdulRazaq as 2st Vice President and Mrs. Yemisi Monisola Makanjuola as 3rd Vice President in the new Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA) Executive is obviously a new dawn in the sport in Kwara state, and Nigeria as a whole.
New Executive members of the NBSA emerged last Saturday, after election in Abuja, as the wife of Kwara Governor; Mrs. Olufolake AbdulRazaq emerges as 2nd Vice President of the body.
In the new team are Dr. William Boyd as Chairman, Alhaji Sani O (1st Vice President), Mrs. Yemisi Monisola Makanjuola (3rd Vice President), Mr Laniyan Kehinde (Secretary General), Barrister Maurice Mogaji (Assistant Secretary General), Mrs Victoria Sodipo (Treasurer), Mr Robert Onwukwe (PRO) and Mr Ayodele Gideon as Assistant PRO.
The election took place at the premises of Women Development Centre, Abuja, and was adjudged as the best election the association has ever conducted.
Six baseball and softball clubs in Kwara state nominated the wife of the state Governor for the position. The clubs are Kwara Sliders, Akintola Hitters, Gold Heart, Revelation, Factory Angels and Kwara Ultimate Baseball and Softball Clubs.
Mrs. Makanjuola is the Founder of MoniMak Global Foundation, and Proprietor of Progressive Baseball and Softball Club.
She was former Captain of Nigeria Softball team, and former Team Manager of Nigeria National Softball team, and a philanthropist.
Her Excellency had earlier campaigned on the bid to raise the bar in the development of the sport in Kwara and Nigeria.
‘My interest in vying for this position has to do with the motivation to develop humanity, and that can be effectively done through sports, because majority of the youths are into sports, and also considering the fact that majority of our population are in that category.
‘I hope to help in the development of the game of baseball and softball in Nigeria. Nigeria has a huge number of potential youths, especially in sports. We hope to create an atmosphere that will encourage them to embrace the game. This we hope to do through our schools, and using Games Masters and Games Mistresses to drive the process.
‘I also hope to use my influence and passion as the Vice President, for the uplift of the sport.
I also hope to leverage on my influence and passion to break new grounds for the benefit of the sport and our youths, both at the national and international levels.
She added that it’s in her plans to build on the successes achieved at the grassroots level, with robust interactions with major players in the sport in Nigeria and beyond, through our presence at National and International Conferences and seminars.
‘Going by the survey we conducted, we discovered that we now have fewer women in the game of softball. We hope to concentrate our energy and resources on the development of the girl-child, and also encouraging them to embrace softball.
‘My interest, just like I said, is being driven by a great passion for the development of the youths, especially through sports, and most especially, through baseball and softball. I will seriously play a mother’s role in the development of the sport.
Baseball and softball was introduced to Kwara state in 1989, through late former Kwara Director of Sports, Pa. David Akintola. The team began with trial and error training at Cherubim and Seraphim College, Ilorin. By 1990, the team had started taking shape, and early that year; Kwarans were selected for coaching courses in Lagos and Minna, Niger state.
Baseball and softball was introduced to Nigeria by General Ishola Williams. His association with late Pa Akintola led to the introduction of the sport to Kwara.
The NBSA was incorporated as a non-profit making organisation, and is affiliated to the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), International Softball Federation (ISF) and the World Little League Incorporation. It is recognized by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
The sport was accepted by the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa as a medal winning sport since 1999 in South Africa, under the auspices of the Africa Baseball and Softball Association (ABSA), with its Secretariat located in Minna, Niger state.
Kwara Sliders Baseball and Softball was established on January 5th, 1990, as the pioneer baseball and softball club in Kwara state. The club won the inaugural national Championship held in Minna, Niger state in 1990.
As the President and Matron of Nigeria District 03, Little League Baseball and Softball, North Central Nigeria, the First Lady has impacted positively on the game in the state.
In a statement by the District Administrator, District 03, Sunday Oladele, she has been able to successfully promote baseball and softball in North Central Nigeria, especially in the three senatorial districts of Kwara state, as the game has been introduced to Koro, Eruku, Isare-Opin, Ijagbo, Tsaragi and Osi communities in the state.
According to him, she was also instrumental to the distribution of baseball and softball equipment worth millions of naira to schools, and to Tsaragi Baseball and Softball Club.
‘In her desire to develop baseball and softball, actively supported the Little League District Administrator to invite a foreign coach, to train baseball and softball coaches, as a way of developing the game at the grassroots’, Oladele averred.
‘I thank the Almighty God, with God; Her Excellency is the First Lady to be elected into Baseball Federation in Africa and even the world.
‘The whole journey started in Osi in October 2019. Special thanks to people that supported our course. They are Coaches Jide Abidoye, Yinka Adewumsi, Adamson Shaibu, Benson Asakome, Sunday Olubo, Akin Frederick, Kayode Oluayo, Dr. James Asagunla.
I want to also thank the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mrs. Joana Nnazua Kolo, the Permanent Secretary, Barrister Iyabo Banire and the entire Ministry, the Sports Council and all other Baseball and Softball Clubs and Academies in the state.
The emergence of two Kwara amazons will no doubt, add value to the development of the sport in the state, especially, with the Baseball Park in Adewole.
The Baseball Park was recently renovated and upgraded by the government of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
The Park was originally commissioned on November 22nd, 1991, by the then number two man in Nigeria, Rear Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, and before the recent upgrading, which was coming 29 years after, the roof had given way, while the edifice itself had suffered neglect.
The Park is one of the only two in Nigeria, with that of Abuja, and has produced notable baseball and softball stars, most of who played for the national teams.
The Park will definitely give the state enough leverage to build positively on, to uplift the sport.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President, Dr. William Boyd described the outcome of the election as a true expression of the members’ choice.
He commended the courage of the members to ensuring that the game gets the necessary attention it requires.
He assured the association that the trust reposed in him and his exco members would not be wished away. He asked everyone to be rest assured that his administration would be pivoted on, dedication, leadership, teamwork, synergy and transparency.
“I am happy with the calibre of people that surrounds me; a new foundation is laid today. Every member has potentials to move the game forward”.
The Secretary General, Mr. Laniyan in his response said “Our development is a function of our input as a group or association and we hope to involve all members to add value to our dear twin game”.