‘Epokinkin’ is a ram owned by Wasiu Adeleye of Ijora Badia who specializes in using his animal for sports betting in the neigbourhood and metropolis located in Lagos. Nigerians like other peoples of the world are also involved in animal sports betting which is said to run into millions of naira. Though, under the auspices of morality, such actions would be frowned at, ABIDEMI WILLIAMS welcome you to the world of ram sports.
During the Ramadan season, youngsters who take their parents ‘Sallah Rams’ to available spaces and school fields to catch fun by watching them take on other animals but today, it is now an industry that has become a million naira industry especially with the development in technology. Now, the sport has become a high money spinner especially in urban centres of the nation like Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta and some areas of the northern parts of the nation where there are abundant rams for such events to take place.
Ram fighting before now was limited to a seasonal sports especially during the Muslim Ramadan festivals which takes place at varying times of the year with Islamic calendar. Yet, the lure of the sport has overtaken the Islamic calendar where is used to be a seasonal sport.
Ram owners who use these animals for games and betting across Lagos and have devised different means through which they get their patronage with the high and mighty in the society taking an interest for financial and psychological satisfaction.
Under the auspices of association umbrellas, they are groups who have come together to promote the sport beyond the level of local sport to the levels of canvassing for its introduction into the nations’ traditional sports structure and also, maybe as an addition into the sports that can be part of the Nigeria Sports Festival.
Among these associations are Ram Sports Promoters Association of Nigeria (RSPAN) and also, the Ram Owners Association of Nigeria. These ram sports enthusiasts are also visible on social media presently and their membership structure are growing by the day.
Alejo Ibrahim, a member of the Ram Owners Association who resides at Apongbon told Creekvibes News Magazine that Ram Sports is something that he has been doing for so many years. He also said that it would be great if the Federal Ministry of Sports can introduce animal fight like Ram sports into the National Sports Festival under the Traditional Sports Category.
Ibrahim told our correspondent that at Olowogbowo area of Lagos, Campos too where competitions take place, rams would be weight according to categories just like In boxing and stakes would be made placed outside the field of play by bettors aside from the prize money that comes with the competition.
“We bring our rams to fight at Campos field, Olowogbowoarea of Lagos Island ad we make some good money from this sport. We have been begging the federal government that they should help us by adding us under the traditional sports in Nigeria. There is good money in ram fighting sports. We win prizes like motorcycles, TVs and other important things like even land in this ram fighting sport because truth be said, we gamble, Alejo said.
Creekvibes New Magazine also spoke with Samson Eniola who said that he has been in the Ram fighters Association for many years. He said that the truth of the matter is this; Ram fight has gone beyond the Ramadan festival and it has developed a soul of its own. He also told the our correspondent that irrespective of whatever animal lovers would say, ram fight is gaining more fans every day and it would be great if the sports ministry would introduce the sport into Nigerian sports. He also said that they have different categories where different rams compete.
“We want the government to introduce this game into the national sports festival. We want them to bring us too into national consciousness. This sport is a big business if government, private sector also support us.
“Nigerians deserve the best in sports and we the Ram fighting Association people are ready to deliver for the national. We have rams worth some N1.2m that ram lovers would buy from us eve when we use them to fight. Foreigners are also part of the game. They join us too in staking for games.
Eniola said he owns rams which he nicknamed ‘Douglas’ ‘Born to fight’ “Ever Ready’ who are champions as they have brought him monetary prizes when they fought with other animals. “Douglas is my main champion. He has won may fights for me and I have received many prizes from his fights. I would say this, selling one’s champion ram is rare but if there’s good money, then you will sell because whether we like like it or not, champions become old and new champions comes up, Eniola said.
National Sports Festival was postpone earlier in the year yet, some of the members of the Ram Fighting Association were intense in their call for the introduction of the sport into the festival.
Eniola called for a full introduction of the sport as he said that if people love the sports here, then it should be introduced and developed.
Fatai Adesina, a security officer said that he developed the love of ram fighing sports as a teenager and he has not left it since that period of his life. He told The PUNCH that when it comes to ram fighting, h would go all the way to view as a kid. He also said that when a teen was, he used to take other peoples rams but now, as he has started working, he has his own rams and uses them to fight. He told the PUNCH that he does not like football and other sports but ram fighting has been his major love in sports since he was a kid.
“I was helping other “Big Bros’ to train their rams then when I was a kid because I did not have money to buy rams. I am now working and I have bought rams and I use them to fight. I love this sport. I don’t like football, I don’t other sports but I love ram fighting sports. I have followed it since I was a kid and till today, I have invested my money into the sport.
“I will say the truth here, I am a ram fighting guy and I will always be because I love that sports,” Adesina said.
Alhaji Olaoluwa Adeolu, a trader at Ikorodu Lagos ram fighting is something that he has been involved in since he was a kid in Lagos Island where he has watched rams fighting and till date he said he still ejoys ram fight competition.
“Though, I dot have rams but I enjoy the sports because during ‘Ileya’ we take our parents rams out to fight other peoples rams and we had our fun and enjoyed the thrills. I did not even know that there’s something call ram fighting sports until recently but yet, I love it.
“Rams have categories and these categories are weight in kilograms when you come and see the fights, you can imagine crowd, excitement.
I always love the sport and I hope to buy some rams for competition very soon. I also want to win with my rams when I get them, Alhaji Olaoluwa said.