In 1997 – 2001, I was the Vice Chairman of Nigerian Association of Traditional
Sports (NATS) and the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the
Association, enthusiastically working under the leadership of dynamic, very
understanding, highly approachable and forwarding looking Dr. Haskee
Dantanee, the third Chairman of NATS. An innovative idea was evolved as we
worked in a conducive atmosphere, cordial and progress laden relationship
with our very hardworking, indefatigable and highly devoted Secretary
General, Mrs. Rose Adiole.

A form of working and standing order came up. As we normally have our
National Sports Festivals in Nigeria biennially, we mobilized the group to have
coaching clinics for Coaches and Technical Officials biennially too. The coaching
clinics to precede the National Sports Festivals while the year in between the
biennial Festivals should hold a National Seminar/symposium which would
treat our policy formulation by using intellectual capacity to drive giant strides
for the rapid progress of our lovely association on the basis of both general and
specific issues. We dreamt great for our association.
Then came the year 2000 which was a festival year and Olympic Games’ year
and the TAFISA year for the 3 rd World Festival of Traditional Sports which
dovetailed into EXPO 2000 in Hannover Germany. We supposed to have only
coaching clinic as our standing order, obeying our calendar for the year.
However, as the year 2000 Olympic Games, taking place in Sydney Australia
was fast approaching, an organization simply called NASCA approached us in
(NATS) for a symposium to commemorate the Olympic Year. Initially, we
looked at it as not following our standing order, but as the pressure piled up
and we discovered that the first Chairman of the NATS, Alh. Dr. G.N Hamza was
going to be the Chairman and Guest of Honour of the opening day of the
symposium and it was not an everyday affair to be that lucky to have a
Presidential Aspirant in your country to be the Chairman of your occasion, we
gave in. I was given a topic to handle and some important dignitaries were
given their own topics too. I can still vividly remember that the Secretary of
Nigeria Universities Games Association (NUGA) was among the dignitaries that

delivered paper. A VIP from National Council of Arts and Culture was also billed
to deliver a topic too. The symposium became a national and international
event instantal. It held at the National Institute for Sports National Stadium,
Surulere, Lagos Nigeria for two days. At the opening day, I delivered my paper
in the presence of a Presidential Aspirant to the seat of Government, Aso Rock,
Abuja Nigeria.
Around November 2020, I bumped into the copy of my topic of the symposium
from my archives. I was amazed when I went through it. I thought what should
I do with it? A twenty-year anniversary of the write-up came up in my mind
and the desire to put it on was it. Incidentally the Olympic
Games for 2020 in Tokyo had moved forward to 2021. So I decided that I was
going to release it on word-for-word. Not only that, I
would not re-type, I would scan it and deliver it like that as this paper must
have been waiting in inter regnum to be featured on
Please see one of our humble contributions to the growth and promotion of
Traditional Sports in Nigeria and Africa, 21years ago.
Here it is, featuring as Part 4 of “May African Traditional Sports and Games
Record Wonderful Breakthroughs in this 2020/2030 Decade”(as PART B of this
episode. See it below).


Definitely, a paper delivered twenty-one years ago must have some updates. I will only treat very few that are very obvious especially in keeping the records straight.

  1. The Nigerian National Sports Festival originally billed for Kano was at the last moment shifted to Bauchi and it became BAUCHI 2000 for the best reasons known to the organizers of the festival. BAUCHI 2000 was very peaceful and successful. It was there we started Ayo doubles and mixed doubles on the freestyles Ayo, rules and regulations. 
  2. The Indomie ABULA CLUB was launched with pomp and pageantry. It was very successful. Shortly after the launching, there was a change of guard at the management level of the group which brought a lull on the activities of Indomie ABULA CLUB. This became a bit enlongated and stretched to link and ancor with the would be second edition of the Lagos Abula League which was going to enlist the Indomie ABULA CLUB as a team. This second edition would not go on as there was no sponsors. Those who carried out the first edition did so through volunteering and many of those who volunteered then got Abula jobs as coaches outside Lagos State and environ. The teams were also made up of secondary school boys that were mostly assisted to transport themselves to and from National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos from wherever they were living around Lagos and metropolis of Lagos.

Now, Abula is now a household name in Nigeria and African Traditional Sports Plans are now underway to resuscitate Lagos Abula League and to institute Abula National League.

When these plans materialize, the Indomie Group will be re-connected to rekindle, the light of friendliness/friendship that lit between Abula and Indomie that led to the formation of INDOMIE. ABULA CLUB. Bravo indomie, you remain our friend-in ABULA GAME.

  1. Abula a no-contact game

This paper presented in the year 2000 is a clear evidence that Abula had been designated as a “no-contact game” 21years ago. 

When Abula was designated as a no-contact game, nobody envisaged Covid-19 that entered Nigeria in the year 2020 which accorded some favours for sports to be classified as no-contact sports. Social distancing is inbuilt in the abula court and the surface of the abula bat is the only surface that makes contact with the ball when the ball is already in play. Although the no-contact designation is not perfect like the other no contact sports too. So Abula, in four by four or two by two qualifies as a no-contact game. 

“Hello Lagos, SPORTS IS BACK!” Organized by Lagos State Sports Commission on 9th – 10th of September 2020 to arouse the sports live of Lagos despite the COVID-19 hurdles placed on sporting activities of the people in our environment and society. 

Abula was one of these selected no-contact rackets sports we had for the program, Abula, Badminton, Squash and Table Tennis. There were five board games that took part in the program. They were Ayo, Chess, Darts, Monopoly and Scrabble. This is a great credit to Lagos State Sports Commission  for promoting our African indigenous Sports of Abula and Ayo just like their developed counter parts side by side, shoulder to shoulder. This is great in our society. This also gives credence to the slogan on Abula in this recent time: ABULA MOVING STEADILY ACROSS BORDERS. Abula is actually penetrating steadily, the sport live of our societies and across physical, sychological, social, cognitive etc borders since it was approved for the school curriculum in Nigeria together with other indigenous sports of Ayo, Kokawa/Gidigbo (traditional wrestling) and Langa more than fifteen years ago. 

In the “African we want”, our African indigenous sports should be promoted shoulder to shoulder with other sports of the world. 

Just like football has its main game of 11 aside and have other derivatives like 5-aside, volleyball has her own six aside, the main game and has the beach volleyball of two aside, as another entity so Abula has the main game of four aside and other varieties, one of which is the two aside called two by two Abula.  

With these three major updates on the paper, the paper remains as fresh as ever and as relevant as necessary. The paper also gives us the idea that sensitization on waking up our African environment in the promotion of African Traditional Sports had started to gain ground in Nigeria for quite sometime now. The platform: is a great medium to update us in what had been done in recent past on this. This is a sense of history on the growth and development of our African Traditional Sports. There are still some papers of the past that will still come on stream as they are as fresh and relevant in mobilizing and mentoring all of us as regards African Traditional Sports and Games.

As this being part 4 of May African Traditional Sports and Games record wonderful breakthroughs in this 2020/2030 decade, hereby consolidates on the main goal of the paper which was to commemorate year 2020 as Olympic year and Olympic Games of Sydney Australia (2000), this release of the paper on afrotradosports will now be used to commemorate the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan in this 2021 even though it was originally scheduled to be TOKYO OLYMPIC 2020 as a kind of TRUCE had to be observed as a result of COVID-19 PANDEMIC. 

We in sincerely wish all of us on earth HAPPY TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES IN ADVANCE. As a great lover of the Olympic Games, I admire a lot, the contributions of every participant but I am particularly attracted to the Africans and their fabulous performances. Certainly the Africans wherever countries they represented, have made great contributions in raising the standard, glamour, colour, strength, speed, style, sychic, tactics, skills etc connected with the Olympic Sports of the Olympic Games. I urge the Africans to increase the tempo, the volume and goodness of their contributions with spirit of fair play and excellent sportsmanship.

Just like anytime I met Chioma Ajumwa in a function, what always came to my mind was how she “run up like cheetah, planted her foot accurately on the board (take off board) like a post office stamp man stamping the middle of the stamp on a letter, she sprang up from the board like falcon, flew and landed like a dove and glided forward off the danger zone beautifully, making the assurance doubly sure, that she did not fall back to diminish or destroy the great jump she had just made. There and then the white flag sprang out and history was made at Atlanta 1996. If I were a trainer, the athletes I am training on long jump would have nicknamed me “get me a “Chioma Jump” because the emphasis and frequency of the request would have made that phrase become a slogan for the group. 

That style of jump is unique and it deserves to be labelled “Chioma Jump”. That is the level in which Africans and Africans in Diaspora have contributed to the growth and development of the modern Olympic Games and the Olympic Sports. Hence, Africa should become a PRODUCER of a good number of Olympic Sports like the other continents of the world Q.E.D.

Thank you.

Mallam Elias Yusuf 


Happy birthday to Abula too on 08-02-2021. Abula was first fully and successfully played on 08-02-1984 at Idi-Araba high School, Mushin, Lagos Nigeria. 

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