By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Ahead of its planned roll out before the end of 2021, the Director General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Lanre Gbajabiamila has appealed to the National Lottery Authority of Ghana (NLAG) to ensure participation of the Ghanaian gaming public in the Nigerian National Game.
Gbajabiamila made this call Wednesday in Abuja when the Director General of the National Lottery Authority of Ghana, Mr. Samuel Awuku paid him a courtesy call in his Abuja office.
He said participation of Ghana in the Nigerian National Game would also shore up revenue for Ghana as well as for the Government of Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila expressed delight at the visit of the Ghanaian authority, stating that it marked the beginning of better working relationship of mutual benefit to both countries.
The DG however dissociated the Federal Government of Nigeria from an earlier visit of the Nigeria Lottery Operators Forum to the National Lottery Authority of Ghana, adding that the Commission was unaware of the visit.
He advised that going forward, it was important for the National Lottery Authority of Ghana to deal directly with the NLRC as the only Federal Government Regulator of Lotteries and Gaming in Nigeria.
He thanked the DG of NLA of Ghana for deeming it fit to pay him a courtesy visit, indicating that the visit would yield fruitful results which would also shape and strengthen the collaborations between the two countries in gaming-related matters.
Gbajabiamila identified the need for Nigeria and Ghana to lead the way in building a strong regional gaming market within the West African sub-region. He said the effort in this regard would focus on creating one huge market where virtually all countries within the sub-region could key into one huge gaming market that would be guided by an agreement which would be binding on all participating countries, without any one feeling shortchanged.
Earlier, the DG of the NLA of Ghana, Mr. Awuku had said his team was in Nigeria, first to introduce the Authority as a colleague of the NLRC in lottery regulations and to figure out how to develop a win-win friendship and working collaborations with Nigeria.
He said his agency, which was also on a fact-finding mission to Nigeria, had already spoken to Nigerian lottery operators and players on the use of the Ghana game, with a view to identifying better ways of creating benefit for Nigeria and Ghana.
On the reported contentious agreement already entered into by the National Lottery Authority of Ghana with one of the Nigerian lottery operators, Mr. Awuku said that the Authority would go back and review the agreement and chart a new way forward that would offer an amicable resolution and better working relationship between the two countries and all stakeholders.
Mr. Awuku said his Authority recognizes the place of the NLRC as a very key stakeholder in the Nigerian lottery industry whose role could not be overlooked.
Speaking about the place of the NLRC, Mr Awuku said, “the regulator is the biggest elephant in the room, the one that says what works or what does not, therefore we need your support in achieving our dreams of better collaborations with the operators and Nigerian gaming stakeholders.”
He harped on the credibility of the Ghana game, adding that Nigeria was invited to the 60th anniversary of the Ghana game in 2022.