Friday, 9 June 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Dayo Akindoju Speaks About His Plans If Elected As NTF President

Dayo Akindoju is more popular in the tennis sphere as a philanthropist who can go any length to support the growth of the game in the country.

This he has equally proven over the past few years by consistently sponsoring an ITF Futures, Dayak Open, which paid USD25,000 as the price money (excluding logistics and other expenses).

The business tycoon has now put himself up for possible election as the president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) in the forthcoming election slated for June 13, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria's Federal Capital.
Dayo Akindoju during the recently-concluded ITF Futures in Abuja, Nigeria's federal capital. He is set to contest for the post of the NTF president. Photo: Ewaoche Ameh
In an exclusive interview with Naija Tennis Special, Nigeria's number one tennis blog, Akindoju stated in clear terms, why he decided to run for the post at a time outgoing president, Sani Ndanusa is bowing out after almost two decades in charge.

Why exactly do you want to become the NTF president?
This is a really interesting question. I want to put my knowledge into the administration of the game, to make it even better in the country. We have seen how it was, how it is now and want to improve on what we are seeing presently.

What gives you the assurance that you will win?
Well... this is an open contest, I am only putting myself up (like other candidates) for election. I have enough qualifications to become the next NTF president, I have as much drive for the game too. I am very positive about this, but like I said, I am just putting myself up for election.

In case you win, what do you want to do for Nigerian tennis?
One of the anomalies I would like to address is that of inability to get sponsorship for major tournaments in the country. To be honest, getting sponsorship in Nigeria is not a problem. We have sponsored ITF Futures in the country for three consecutive years and I can tell you that getting sponsors is never an issue.
Akindoju (middle) flanked by the sponsors of the GSL and Tombim Abuja Open ITF Futures during the three-legged ITF Futures in Abuja. Photo: Ewaoche Ameh.
Thing is, people have to understand that there are different levels of sponsorship. With N5,000 you can become part of the sponsors of a major tournament, you don't necessarily need to have N10million or N20million to sponsor a major championship and that is what we are coming to show Nigerians if voted in.

How have you successfully sponsored the ITF Futures over the past three years?
We simply applied basic rules. What if I told you that the tournament is being run by a 27-year-old guy who we just told what to do? There's already a spreadsheet on how to run the tournament, that's what the young man has been using and it has been hitch-free.

Also, we negotiated with hotels, and rooms which would have been given out for a minimum of N40,000 were leased out for about N11,000, simply because they were guaranteed a packed hotel for the next three weeks.

Transport, airport pick-ups and others were also subsidized, these are all forms of sponsorship for me and one of the umpires who came from Kenya for the tournament, categorically said that it was one of the few tournaments he had attended where nobody had to ask for anything because everyone knew what to do.

NB: Akindoju is up against former Vice President of the NTF, Yemi Owoseni and Director of the International Tennis Academy, Godwin Kienka.

Naija Tennis Special shall bring you interviews with the other contestants in the coming days preceding the election proper.