In recent times, Car Race Competitions have been trending in Nigeria from Eleko Motor Race and Sagamu Rally to The Drift League and even superbike races. This is an amazing development Nigerians have obviously been waiting for.. and it’s now here at our doorstep.
The most interesting part of this development is the fact that the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) which promotes and governs motor sports worldwide has now shown keen interest in motor sports in Nigeria. This is evidenced by the FIA Sport African Regional Congress which was held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria on 25th and 26th of August, 2017. The Congress was attended by delegates from several countries and it was a huge success with great prospects for motor sports in Nigeria. The event focused on the growth of Automotive Sport in Africa with critical reference to Nigeria.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi (MFR, MNI) and FIA President Jean Todt met with the Vice President of Nigeria (Yemi Osinbajo) before the congress commenced.
ABOUT FIA (FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L’AUTOMOBILE)
FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) which mean International Federation of Automobiles in English was founded in 1904 with the initial aim of ensuring coherent governance and safety to motor sport. However, they have since grown into a global organization that not only promotes motor sport, but also safe, sustainable and accessible mobility for all road users across the world.
The FIA aims to ensure safe, affordable and clean systems of transport are available to all. They have also partnered The United Nations and Road Safety Organisations all over the world with aims to reduce fatalities on the roads by five million before 2020.
They currently have over 80 million members from 143 countries including Nigeria. Hence, the FIA Sport African Regional Congress 2017 was held in Nigeria hosted by Mr Ishaku Bamaiyi of Automobile and Touring Club of Nigeria
This is the fourth FIA African Congress and representatives came from the following countries: Nigeria, Switzerland, Kenya, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Uganda, France, Ethiopia, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Libya etc. Worthy of note is the presence of the President of Automobile Sports Club of Nigeria – Mr Abdulraheem Agunbiade, Representative from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as Representatives from Federal Road Safety Commission.
Automobile and Touring Club of Nigeria was established in May 2009 to promote Automobile Mobility, Tourism, Sport and Educate the General Public on Environmental Issues as well as Create Awareness/Campaign for Road Safety in Nigeria. Since its establishement, the association has organised various events to promote Automotive Sport and safety in Nigeria one of which is the popular Eleko Motor Race which has been held routinely at Eleko Beach in Lagos as well as the recently concluded FIA congress in Abuja amongst many others. The club’s President is Mr Ishaku Bamaiyi.
SUMMARY OF ISSUES DISCUSSED
- The event was flagged off by Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi (MFR, MNI) and FIA President Jean Todt who welcomed all the dignitaries and delegates before the welcome cocktail commenced at 7:30pm on Thursday 24th of August, 2017.
- Mr Jean Todt who is also the United Nations Secretary General Envoy on Road Safety reiterated that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is an inspiration for other African countries to emulate in dealing with the menace of road traffic crashes in the continent.
- The deliberation session commenced at 9:30am on Friday 25th of August 2017. Delegates talked about how Nigeria will benefit from Autosport in terms of creating jobs, improving tourism, creating strong bond amongst citizens, testing the integrity of automobile equipment/parts as well as discovering talents.
- The FIA explained that Auto Sport is relatively safe as safety measures are always put in place. Risks and Hazards are always properly identified and mitigated. Safety equipment like the car databox, helmets, head restraints, harnesses, extinguishers and many others were also exhibited.
- Nigeria was encouraged to take car racing competitions to the grassroots and capture kids and teenagers between the ages of 6 – 17 as most other countries do. They could start with go-kart competitions and grow through the ranks to become world champions.
- Some FIA representatives appealed to the FRSC and Nigerian government to support Auto Sport being the giant of Africa. As Nigeria is needed to give Africa a voice in worldwide Auto Sport. South Africa currently has several racing events and many more professional race drivers but Nigeria is needed to take its rightful position.
- Assistant Corps Marshal Olumide M. Olagunju of FRSC stated that the FRSC is absolutely committed to improving Auto Sports in Nigeria and advised that a follow up meeting should be arranged for further and in-depth discussion on the way forward.
- A system that obtains in some other countries was also proposed where FRSC can grant a licence to teenage racers but such licence can only be used on race tracks and not on public roads. Therefore, cars of such young racers will only be transported to the race tracks by an adult co-driver or a flatbed truck.
- Previous and existing racing event were also discussed. This includes: Eleko Motor Race, Sagamu Rally etc. These events were said to have been held using high safety standards whilst partnering with FRSC, Corporate Organisations, Paramedics, car scrutiniers and security agencies.
- Mr Ade Ojuoko who is the promoter of Work and Play Events as well as the organiser of Sagamu Rally, confirmed another Rally Race is coming up on 11th of November 2017 at Ilara Mokin in Ondo State.
- Finally, the association appealed for more government involvement in Auto Sport in Nigeria like the case of Kenya where the Country’s President comes to flag off their events.
- The event ended at 6pm on Saturday 26th of August, 2017.
Are you a car race enthusiast? Then welcome to a new era of automotive sport in Nigeria.