The tenure of the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria (PGAN) Director, Samson Lawal, elapses this 2020 even as a date for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is yet to be fixed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawal in an exclusive chat with DAILY INDEPENDENT on Wednesday from his Jos, Plateau State base asserted that he has paid his dues as it was high time he quit the job after two terms 2016-2020.
Lawal, a pioneer member of the PGAN since 1969, believes people with fresh ideas should come on board and build on the existing structure to move the association forward.
“I have seen it all in the game of golf as a player up to the professional level; I have travelled to 30 countries all over the world playing golf and I have crowned it up by becoming the Director of the PGAN for two terms without blemish; I’m one of the founding members of the association since 1969 and the process started in 1968, what again do I want,” he queried adding, “It’s time I have to go and allow those with fresh ideas come in and build on what is on ground.”
It is on record that the PGAN was affiliated with the PGAs of Europe; the International Golf Federation (IGF) and other world golfing bodies recently under the tenure that is winding down.
“The records of my tenure will speak for me for times to come; I’m particularly very happy with the affiliation of PGAN with the PGAs of Europe and the other golf bodies; what more can give me joy for serving the association than meritorious service,” Lawal enthused.
The outgoing Director who is believed to have brought great reforms to the PGAN Qualifying School recently, however, was still concerned about the future of the professionals in the country and other African countries saying the situation is not getting better.
“The PGAN Qualifying School at present has been reformed to a very high standard; a world standard and I’m very proud of that.
“But, I feel for the professionals of today in Nigeria and Africa in general; the professionals’ position has been taken over by the amateurs which is wrong; the professional should lead the way, but for lack of funds they are at the mercy of the amateurs who have all it takes.
“I see the present golfers in the country qualifying as professionals just for the name rather than the game because they are financially handicapped to grow in the game that’s the simple truth.
“But the amateurs see the game from a leisure angle and do the business of it as well as organise competitions and tournaments just for themselves, while the professionals are begging for sponsorships,” he lamented.
“In our time, there were lots of professional tournaments, good ones as Nigerian Open; Zambian Open; Zimbabwean Open (when it was Rhodesia with Salisbury as the capital); Kenyan Open; Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Open; Gambia Open, name it.
In retrospect, he revealed, “I once played with Sir Dauda Jawara of Gambia and Kenneth Kanda of Zambia once hosted us in his home also as a professional golfer; but with the departure of the white men who were in charge then, everything changed as our people took over and that’s why we are where we are today,” he submitted.
Other experts however, have posited that to get the professionals game on the right footing stakeholders, corporate organisations and well-meaning individuals must synergise, just as the players must brace up the challenges.
Meanwhile, the PGAN Executive Committee in a release signed by Jide Bolaji, the Secretary General and made available to the press on Thursday called on its members to exercise some little patience as appropriate date for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) will soon be published when the COVID -19 restrictions improve.
The present Executive Committee of the association was elected for the second term in June 2018 at the AGM in Dutse, Jigawa State capital for a term of two years which ends not later than June 2020.