Call NCF president to order, Sagoe tells cricket stakeholders
Chairman of the African Cricket Association, Kwesi Sagoe, has described the latest events in the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) as unfortunate, saying that some individuals are bent in stalling the growth of the game in the country.
Sagoe was ‘purportedly’ suspended from all cricket activities by the Federation’s president, Emeka Onyeama, on Saturday at the NCF AGM reportedly boycotted by some members of the body’s board. But, according to Sagoe, Onyeama’s action is a ploy to stop the ACA president from contesting to retain his position at the African body’s election, which comes up tis weekend in South Africa.
Speaking to a group of journalists yesterday in Lagos, Sagoe said his suspension was primarily aimed at ensuring he did not retain the ACA chairmanship. The NCF president “sees me as an irritant, who constantly reminds him that his actions are not in the interest of Nigerian cricket and therefore wants to stop me from retaining my position as ACA chairman.”
Sagoe said the NCF president has nominated a Tanzanian to challenge him at this weekend’s ACA polls because he is angry that the African body refused to allow him present a proposal on marketing and sponsorship with the body’s AGM.
According to Sagoe, “the NCF president sent a mail to the ACA asking to be allowed to make a presentation on marketing and sponsorship at the AGM. The mail was circulated to the board for their seven members to make their inputs.
“Two people from Tanzania supported the proposal; a lady from Kenya abstained, while three others from Zambia, Gambia and Mozambique opposed it. It was now brought to me as chairman and I referred them to the ACA constitution, which specified the type of business that can be entertained at the AGM.
“After going through the constitution, the board voted against it by 4-2. In my mail to the board, I added that they should consider how much the NCF president has brought to the Nigerian body in dollar terms from marketing and sponsorship.
“Another problem he had was that he was not at the last ACA AGM and Nigeria did not attend the development seminar, which was an embarrassment to me as the ACA chairman. Normally, a proposal like the one he sent should have been done weeks before the AGM so that members would have enough time to look at it.
“The Tanzanian contesting against me in the ACA polls leaked the mail I sent to the board to the NCF and on that basis he has purportedly suspended from all cricket matters for, according to him, anti-Nigeria activities. He has nominated the same Tanzanian to contest against me as the patriotic Nigerian, which he claims to be.
“The NCF vice president endorsed my nomination for re-election to the position, but he has written to the ACA that I should be stopped because I am on suspension. All that is because I wrote in my memo that what he was proposing to do at the ACA AGM had not been tabled to the ACA board in Nigeria. That is why he is saying that I am anti-Nigeria.”
Sagoe said he still has the opportunity to contest to re-election at the ACA polls, adding, however, that “it will be unfair to ACA t bring Nigeria’s acrimony to the African body.”
He added: “All these things are happening because we tried to tell him that he has been doing things the wrong way. At the AGM, where I was purportedly suspended, four board members, including Yahaya Ukwenya from Kaduna, Okon Ukpong from the Southwest and Saidu El-Buba from Maiduguri walked out of the meeting when they saw what was going on.
“I am bringing this to public notice because this is a game we have all toiled to build. Since he assumed office, three acting NCF general managers have resigned their appointment and written petitions citing the president’s financial recklessness.”
The Guardian could not get the NCF president to react to the allegations, but one of his associates dismissed Sagoe’s claims, saying there is no problem in the cricket family.
According to the board member, “some people, who think they can use the NCF to feather their nests are trying to destabilize the federation. But they have failed.
“If they are sure of their allegations, they should complain to the supervisory ministry, the Ministry of Sports. Kwesi Sagoe is the one guilty of anti-Nigeria activities. He is the ACA chairman, but rather than using his position to help Nigerian cricket, he is busy painting the body black and trying to stop us from accessing international support.
“He wants to stand for re-election, but he has not told anybody in the NCF. Instead, he has gone to other countries to seek nomination. He even tried to change the rules on nominations to the position. We are waiting and watching to see how he wants to achieve his ambition.”