By the records of WIKIPEDIA, from Independence in 1960, till this December 2019, Nigeria has produced over 40 Ministers of Education including Ministers of State, Education.


In the same vain, Nigeria should have probably produced about the same number of Ministers of Sports (Youth and Sports) including National Sports Commission Chairmen or Sole Administrator(s) of the National Sports Commission (from 1960 – 2019).


By the discovery of, six friendly personalities have been identified  to be AFROTRADOSPORTS FRIENDLY among the lot that were supposed to have held sway in these three-in-one platform of being Ministry of Sports, National Sports Commission and Ministry of Education in Nigeria. In fact, it was also further discovered that the three groups produced two representative each to cover the three of them. There were two from National Sports Commission, two from Ministry of Sports and two from the Ministry of Education.


From afrotradosports perspective, that is the six, that merited this list. However, anybody or group can select their own six or more or even none from this six. To us in afrotradosports, these six are the ones. We will give you the narrative that crown them with the accolade of TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS IN NIGERIA. 


In a paper title: AN OVERVIEW OF MODERN DEVELOPMENTS OF TECHNICAL GROWTH OF NIGERIAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS by Mallam Elias Yusuf on 26th November, 2012 at the Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) coaching clinic  which held at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos in preparation for EKO 2012, the 18th National Sports Festival in Nigeria, a build up  for the formation of National Sport’s Association for our Traditional sports in Nigeria was given as follows:



To really promote our Traditional Sports in the real perspective, a sport association had to be formed. Formation of Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) was really very dramatic and intriguing.

In 1990, a book titled “Abula and African Billiards was written by Mallam Elias Yusuf, the inventor of the Abula Game. The Abula game itself was invented in 1984 and the African Billiards in 1988.  


In 1992, Mallam Yusuf made a video tape on Abula and African Billiards. As Mallam Elias Yusuf and Mr. S.A Daudu had been in the same school complex at Idi-Araba High School, Mushin, Lagos State, they came up with a decision to present the video tape on Abula and African Billiards to the “Force House” which was the popular name given to the building, housing the then National Sports Commission near Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.


The duo of Mallam Elias Yusuf and Mr. S.A Daudu presented this tape on Abula and African Billiards to the Chairman of the National sports Commission through Dr. Amos Adamu the then Assistant Director of Sports in Nigeria in the company of Dr. Dongoyaro. That was the final push that brought about the formation of Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports in 1993.


Langa had been demonstrated … at Kaduna National Sports Festival, it did not muster enough force to lead to the formation of Traditional Sports Association in Nigeria because it was to form an association on its own. However, as well articulate rules and regulations were put in place in Abula and African Billiards, this accelerated the formation of Traditional Sports Association in Nigeria under the aegis of NIGERIA ASSOCIATION OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS (NATS) under the Chairmanship of Dr. Alh. G.N Hamza in 1993, the 1st NATS Chairman.  


Haven given you fairly detailed preamble that led to the formation of traditional Sports Association in Nigeria, here is the inauguration by Chief Alex Akinyele, live and direct with this historic speech:











I am delighted to be with everyone of you here today for yet another Inauguration Ceremony. This time, it is for the Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports which had been on the drawing board for quite sometimes now.


We are all aware that traditional sports as acrobatics, Ayo, Canoeing, Horse racing, Boxing, Wrestling, Arrow-shooting, Swimming etc. are ways of life in Nigeria. They are what we do as ways of fending for ourselves through occupations like fishing, hunting, farming and transporting. 


These traditional sports are also used as past time events even though their places in cultural rites, rituals and initiation ceremonies cannot be over-emphasied. Paramount among these sports are wrestling and boxing which were widely known among all the tribes in Nigeria before the advent of the Colonial Masters. We can recall that to the Hausas,


 Wrestling is known as “KOKAWA” …. as it is “NGBA” to the IBOS and the YORUBAS as “IJAKADI”.


We have woken up from slumbers today when the realization of annihilating these traditional sports stared us on our bare faces. Other world communities have registered their existence on earth with the international recognition accorded to their traditional sports. We can mention few of these sports among many of them. They are JUDO, KARATE, KONFU, TAEKWONDO, ROWING, ARCHERY, SHOOTING and so on and so forth.


In the same vain, we are inaugurating a body that will establish our traditional sports as other countries have done. For years, we have spent millions of naira on the development and practice of sports alien to Nigeria at the expense of our traditional sports. That was pardonable because of our colonial past when everything European was seen as better and no conscious effort was made to harness and develop our traditional sports. Henceforth, equal energy would be spent on the development of our traditional sports and the alien sports. 



    1. Identify and document traditional and invented games;
    2. Document rules and regulations of all traditional and invented games
    3. Modernize rules and regulations of traditional and invented games. 
    4. Formulate rules and regulations for the playing of traditional sports where necessary. 
    5. Organize exhibition of traditional and invented games. To benefit from the experience of the public 
    6. Organize exhibition of traditional and invented games


  • Demonstrate traditional and invented at the national sports festival.


  1. Export traditional and invented games to other countries in order to improve Nigeria’s image abroad and earn foreign exchange through companionships and personnel training for other countries.
  2. Train traditional and invented games referees and other technical officials.
  3. Draw up the calendar of activities for the games. 
  4. Seek sponsorship of the games within Nigeria.
  5. Undertake any other business with respect to the development of the games. 



  1. Alhaji (Dr.) Hamza – Chairman 
  2. The Seven (7) Zonal Co-ordinators Member
  3. Mr. Mike Okpala (Power Mike) Member
  4. A representative each from SDD and PR&S Member
  5. Dr. T.O Adewoye (Ayo Guru) Member
  6.  Mr. Audu Bako (Great Traditional Sport Enthusiast)- Sport Member
  7. Mr. D. Omoifo Ejiy (Marksbal Inventor) Member
  8. Mr. Kayode Ojobi (Trainscore Inventor) Member
  9. Mr. L.O Oke (Ringball Inventor) Member
  10. Sports Development To Provide Secretary 


(And the first Sec. Gen. of the Sports Association was Mr. Peter Abiche)


After the delivery of this speech by the Chief, what would have happened? Definitely, the Chief being a crowd puller, the towering figure of the Chief, the broad smile on his face, the loud and clear voice, the commanding tone, all the gesticulations and paraphernalia of a cultural man, who was a public relation outstanding personality, ditching out an historic speech, please what would have happened?


I was not there but I guess it would be an automatic thunderous applause. And the MC of the occasion would go further and say “Another round of applause”. I know, if I were there, I would have automatically stood up because of my belief in what the chief had just done and , accomplished, I would begin to clap and some other people would automatically stand up to join me and the whole hall would join to give a STANDING OVATION, especially to a man who defeated the PERDITION that had been visited on African Traditional Sports over the years spanning the age of slave trade, colonialism and neocolonialism. Definitely, I am aware that the Chief was the JAGUNMOLU of Ipetu ijesha, I could see that afrotradosport also sees him as JAGUNMOLU of African Traditional Sports apart from being a FRIENDLY MINISTER OF AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS. It should be very clear that anybody who headed the Commission as Executive Chairman or Sole Administrator is the Minister of Sports for that period he was there on sports matters in Nigeria. In fact, sometime, a Minister would be formerly pronounced as minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission. I know that the Chief was formerly a Minister of Information of this Federal Republic of Nigeria.   


I was so fascinated by the Chief’s achievement on this our traditional sports that when I became the President of Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (2001 – 2005) I payed him a visit in his private outfit in Surulere area in Lagos. I went in company of my very close colleague, Mr. Samuel Ajayi Daudu. With a wonderful warm reception, he gave us a pleasant surprise. He just called somebody to bring Ayo board and called for a match. Oh! What a way of entertaining a visitor. Certainly the Chief was a good player of Ayo Game, especially the Yoruba version of the Ayo Game. He showed that he was not just theoretical in promoting our Traditional Sports, he was practical in playing our Traditional Sports of which Ayo is a great example and representative.(privately worldwide)


As Ambassador of African Traditional Sports, I wish to pay this tribute to the Chief on behalf of Traditional Sports Coaches, Athletes, Technical Officials and Administrators in Africa, that providence will make Ayo game available to you for your enjoyment in heaven if that condition applies there. Your historic seed, on African Traditional Indigenous Sports will yield dividends to the extend of playing African Indigenous Sports at the Olympic Games very soon. 


Chief, maje okun, maje ekolo, ohun tiwon ban je lajule orun ni kio ba won yotomi re. 


Adieu Chief, Paradise is your new abode.


Mallam Elias Yusuf 



  1. To write about TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS have been in the pipeline for long, but when I read many write-ups about the Chief after his demise I noted that nothing was mentioned about what afrotradosports considers as one of his historic contributions and achievements, hence this part 1 of TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS is fully devoted to the Chief. 

2. I hope the MOC and LOC of EDO 2020 will use the speech of Chief Alex Akinyele in totality to make all sports in TSFN rule book to be scoring at EDO 2020. It is possible, “the labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain.”







ABULA GAME is one of the arrow-heads traditional sports in the promotion and popularization of our indigenous games in Nigeria and Africa. As the Abula Game was invented in the month of February, 1984 and to really appreciate the pioneer player, participants, supporters and promoters of the Abula Game, I am highly elated to recall this article in order to show that the pioneer lovers of this game will continue to be reckoned with.

Team Lagos


This article is culled from the archive. It was published in TESCOM NEWS in 2004. It is just as relevant and fresh. It is handy enough to be used as the anniversary cake to celebrate, as Abula Game turned 34 on 8th February 2018. Abula, share your anniversary cake as follows:

Abula was invented and first played as a full game on the 8th of February, 1984 at Idi-Araba High School (IDHS) Mushin, Lagos State, by Mr. E.F Yusuf (now popularly called in Tradition Sports circle as Mallam Elias Yusuf). He was the then Sports master of Idi-Araba High School under the examplary leadership of Mrs. M.J. Elegbeleye, the then Principal of the School. She provided a conducive atmosphere to the development of the game and its initial growth. On 22nd February 1984, two experts from the Physical and Health Education Department, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Dr. A.A. Adebayo and Mr. A.O. Philips saw the game played at IDHS. They rated the game as being interesting and recommended it. This was the first experts contribution to the game. It was a major morale booster for the game. After this, the Mushin SMC took an interest in the game through its sports unit under Mrs. Adeniji, Mr. Afuwape and supported by Alhaja Fagbenro under Prince A.O. Oyenuga, the then Secretary of Mushin SMC. Subsequent Secretaries of Mushin SMC that recognized the game were Mr. A.A. Sopehin and Mr.A.O Adeogun.


What is Abula? Abula is a ball game developed on the principles of balanced diet as epitomized by the Yoruba Traditional dish called Abula. The Abula dish is as old as the Yoruba civilization. It is made up of Amala (carbohydrate base), gbegiri (protein base), ewedu (mineral salt base) and oil (fat and oil base). So Abula game has several physical activities embedded in it when being played in a game’s situation. Such include standing, walking, short runs, squatting, bending, jumping, volleying, spiking, diving etc. All interwoven while playing the Abula game. It is a four aside game played in a court of 16m by 8m over a high net in the middle. It goes the length of 16points to win a normal game.


In 1989 Abula was one of the projects that represented Lagos State at the National Instructional Materials Exhibition in Ilorin, Kwara State through Mr. Bombata.


From there, the inventor picked up the courage to formally seek formal approval for the game. So in 1990 the Lagos State Ministry of Education granted an approval for the spreading of the game round Lagos State Schools and later gave approval for the formation of Abula game’s club in post primary schools in Lagos State in other to give practical expression to the earlier approval, so that the game would be established in schools. This led to the formation of the clubs in schools. The first launched Abula club in the schools was at Bolade Grammar School on 1st June 1996 under the leadership of Mrs. F.O Ajaguna, the then Principal of the school. Other schools that established Abula game then were Igbobi Girls High School under Mrs. A.O Ogini, Government College Ikorodu, under Alhaji Okuboyejo, Festac College under Mrs. E.K Aroyewun, Apostolic Grammar School under Mrs. Farinu, Ajao Estate Grammar School, under Mrs. Uzoigwe, Mushin Community High School under Mrs. Shade Kufo and Ilupeju College under Mr. Omotosho. As the schools were embracing Abula, the basic Educational Services further approved Abula as one of the schools sports in Lagos State under the then Lagos State School Sports Federation.


This was under Mrs. V.O. Ogunmodede with her staff members like Mr. T. Ayoade, Mr. Odunowo and Miss Shittabey promoting the game from Parker House, Igbobi. Infact, Mr. Ayoade was instrumental to the publication of study materials on Abula and African Billiards in social studies book for primary schools in Lagos State.


However, before the series of approval of Abula by Lagos State Ministry of Education, the inventor had spread the game to Oduduwa Secondary School under Mr. Popoola (1987), He was the first Principal of school to accept Abula outside Idi-Araba High School. The inventor brought the game to Ajumoni Secondary School (1988), when he was deployed there as Ag. Vice Principal. At Ajumoni, Chief Faberabo even supported the game to take part in the National Technology Exhibition week in 1990. In 1992, the inventor was deployed as Vice Principal to Ewetuntun Grammar School where he met Mr. Dele Oyeleru an Agric teacher who embraced the game so much that he was later selected as Honorary National Coach of Abula by a private group that formed Abula Federation of Nigeria under Alhaji A.B Fashola. When the inventor was redeployed to Bolade Grammar School Oshodi (1993) as VP the game was established there with Mrs. Ajaguna as Principal. When she was redeployed to LAFRO, Mrs. Ajaguna established Abula there. Bolade Grammar School received Productivity Certificate through the Abula Family Game (AFAGA) which was exhibited at Alausa in one of the productivity week programmes under the leadership of Mrs. Amodeni.


It should be noted that it has been among the players trained in these schools that have represented Lagos State at the National Sports Festival in BENUE 96, IMO 98, BAUCHI 2000 and EDO 2002. Some of these players have also become coaches and technical officials in Abula. The Abula coaches for Imo, Niger, Oyo and Delta States finished from these schools.


Messrs Awosika, Megbowon, Aminu and others contributed to the general acceptance of the game through  its publication in this professional magazine, TESCOM NEWS. The inventor received letter of commendation from PPTESCOM following Abula receiving International Olympic Committee patronage in 1994 through Sports For All Nigeria and the Nigeria Olympic Committee Lagos State Ministry of Education also sent a letter of commendation.


In 1998, Lagos State Government, through Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports sent a letter of commendation to the inventor, describing him as an asset to the state and humanity following Abula, becoming a scoring event at the 11th National Sports Festival, Imo 98. PPTESCOM has been very forward-looking as she  always released the inventor and his close associates Messr. S.A Daudu, Dele Oyeleru, Olaewe, Tunji Ogunbambi and others to participate in programmes such as the 3rd World Festival of Traditional Sports, Hannover 2000 in Germany and the 8th All Africa Games, Abuja 2003 and to several National Sports Festivals.


PART TWO: Abula Game spread to these states mentioned below as they have been part of the National Sports Festival at one National Sports Festival or the other. Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers, Edo, Cross Rivers, Bayelsa, Imo, Benue, Kaduna , Bauchi, Niger State, Jigawa, Bornu, Plateau, Adamawa States and FCT Abuja.


PART THREE: The Game Abula was approved to be in the National Schools Curriculum of Nigeria by the 48th Session of National Council on Education and the Nigerian Educational Research And Development Council (2007).


Mr. Andrew Ekejiuba wrote a news talk on Abula, and it was broadcast on Radio Nigeria during this pioneering period to educate people on the game.


PART FOUR: The next levels for the game are: To be a game of mass participation in schools and the general public. For championships, leagues and several competitions. To have facilities all over the place especially in schools and to go international. To know more about Abula Game, visit:


By: Mallam Elias Yusuf

Lagos State Traditional Sports Championship for Secondary Schools 2016

1st Lagos State Traditional Sports Championship for Secondary Schools started on the 12th of October and ended on the 14th of October 2016 at Campos Mini Stadium,Lagos Island, Lagos State,Nigeria.

It was sponsored by the Lagos State Government under the mega performing Governor  of Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode  with Mr Deji Tinubu, the Special Adviser on Sports in Lagos State and also the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission.

This is the first time that African Traditional Sports would receive such a boost in Nigeria in secondary Schools. This championship actually confirmed the statement made by the S.A on Sports , Mr Deji Tinubu in an extensive interview in a national news paper  in Nigeria a few weeks ago, that Lagos is poised to be the ‘’hub of  Sports in Africa’’. He started on a very highly correct, promising and inspiring note in taking Africa indigenous Sports to Schools.


As more of this type of championship are going to be in the offing , it is suggested that the theme of taking African Traditional Sports to schools should be;




In fact, this should be a project to be vigorously pursued in our schools as a means of injecting and promoting LOCAL CONTENT in Sports in our schools. This is to CHANGE our society from being mere consumers of foreign Sports.



1st ; Ajeromi Ifelodun Snr High School

2nd ; Eko Akete

3rd ; Onike Jnr High Sch


14 secodary  schools participated in this female category.


1st ; Cardoso Snr High sch

2nd ; Ajeromi Ifelodun Snr High sch

3rd ; Herbert Macauley High sch


15 secodary schools participated in this male category.





1st Oke  Joshua ; LAGOS-CITY COLEGE

2nd Nzurum Sunday; AKOKA JUNIOR HIGH SCH

3rd Agoro Babatunde; EWUTUNTUN SNR HIGH SCH

4th Obamuwagun Ayodeji; EVERGOODNEWS SCH

27 secodary schools participated in this category.



1st Aminu Khadijat ; LAFIAJI SNR HIGH SCH

2nd Omosuyi Ayomide ; AJEROMI IFELODUN SNR SCH

3rd Sanni Blessing ; ANTY AYO GIRLS

4th Iwuh Favour ; GASKIYA SNR GIRLS

24 Secondary schools participated in this category.