Basheer Agusto, the Chairman of the Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria, said arrangements were in progress to feature Ram Fighting at the 19th National Sports Festival in Calabar, Cross River State. He stated so on the sidelines of the National Ram Fighting Competition holding in Lagos that the sport had contributed immensely to the development of traditional sports in the country.
Agusto said: “We were at the EKO 2012 festival for demonstration. Since then, the development of the sport has been significant, especially among the states in the West who are also promoting ram competition. This is one arm of traditional sports that has gained ground, with Lagos State setting the pace. Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Plateau, Sokoto and FCT, Abuja have also keyed in. Now that Calabar will be hosting the 19th edition, we are planning to extend the sport in that region so that ram fighting competition can grow among other traditional sports.”
Agusto explained that the rams used for the sport were specially trained by their owners to take part in the competition organized by the Ram Lovers Association of Nigeria (RLAN). According to him, the sporting activity has created an avenue for youth empowerment, as it engaged some youths who train as coaches to the rams.
He said: “The rams used for the competition are normal ones but the difference is that they are exclusively trained for competition purposes and the owners spend money and time on them. The RLAN is really doing well to encourage our youths who are involved in this sport by ensuring that the competition holds annually since it was introduced in 1997.”
Last year’s overall ram winner received the 1st prize award of a car; other winners received gifts ranging from refrigerators to generators and cash prizes. RLAN are organizers of the ram competition event and holds every February till March. Event holds every Sunday for duration of 6 weeks and hosts popular Fuji artistes at the grand finale. This year event has over 300 rams representing all the Local Government Areas (LGA) in Lagos state.