Darts in Nigeria faces a major setback as there is unconfirmed rumour that the sport may not featured in the 2014 National sports festival tagged Paradise Games 2014 scheduled to hold in the city of Calabar, Cross Rivers State in November. This will be the second time that the future of the darts at the national level is been threatened as Lagos state refused to feature the sport in the national sports festival tagged Eko 2012
In a chat with the president of the Darts Federation of Nigeria, Dr A. G. Haruna who confirmed the rumour but noted that the federation had not been officially notified about the development. The rumour indicated that the sport was been removed for Squash because of pressure been mounted on the Main Organising Committee and the Local Organising Committee by some interest group with connections at the presidency.
In a official memo released by the Main Organising Committee and dated 12th February, 2014 that was made available to the naija darts reporter, the Committee had notified all the participating states that the optional sports included in the 2014 National Sports Festival shall be Darts, Canoeing. Karate and kugfu.
Darts was recoginised and accredited as a sports in 1996 and completed the mandatory three demonstrations at the Edo sports festival in 2004. The sport featured as demonstration in the Bauchi, Kaduna and Benin sports festival. It featured for the first time as a medal sport in 2006 at the Gateway Games which held in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The sport has featured in two other festivals, Kada Games in 2009 and the Gardencity games in 2011. The sport has 39 cumulative medals (ie Gold, Silver and Bronze) in the sports festival.
In a interview with Chief Anthony Akanfe, a vice president of the Darts Federation of Nigeria, he said ” The Cross Rivers State has not done well, as they are creating further unemployment for this youth since many of the players have been on contract in some state for the past few years. With this kind of development, they are discouraging these young boys who have taken to the sports and many of them are afraid that they might lose their contract. This remain contrary to the posture of the federal government on job creation for the youths in the country ”
Meanwhile, we were informed that the Federation is making frantic efforts at getting the decision over turned. The current discriminatory posture of sports administrators in Nigeria by classifying certain sports including darts as optional creates a major handle in popularising these sports, thereby throwing all the benefits derivable by the youths. With this, Nigeria shall continue to fall behind and remain ill prepared to effectively exploit the opportunities that will be create when Darts is finally recognise as an Olympic sport.
Darts in Nigeria is governed by the Darts Federation of Nigeria, an affiliate of the World Darts Federation. The Nigeria Darts Association remains an important stakeholder with its member drawn from clubs and exclusive recreational centers. South Africa is the only Africa nation that has embraced professional darts which is associated to the Professional Darts Corporation. Efforts at getting Nigeria to professionalise the sports is still ongoing.