Angry officials want sports minister sacked
The election guidelines released by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung on Thursday for the June 20 polls may have pitched him and chairmen of some sports federations on a war path.
The guidelines released in Abuja during a stakeholders’ meeting called by Dalung ruled out some big names like incumbent Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) President, Engr. Habu Gumel, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) boss, Solomon Ogba, Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) President, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, chairman of Nigeria Handball Federation, Yusuf Dauda and Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President, Tijani Umar, from contesting for the top seats when elections come up. The new guideline also stipulates that those occupying positions in international sports bodies shall not contest for the post of president and vice president in the coming election.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that some top shots in the nation’s sports have vowed to stop at nothing in making sure Dalung ‘pay dearly’ for his action.
“As we speak, some chairmen of sports federations have taken their case to the Presidency because Dalung is trying to cause more trouble within the sports family,” one angry official said in a telephone chat. “He knows the rules governing sports elections, and from all indications, the minister and some cabals in the sports ministry are looking for a way to get at some people they perceive as enemies.
“How can the minister say those who have served two tenures should not contest? It is ridiculous for him to say that those occupying positions in international sports bodies should not contest for the post of president and vice president in the coming election. We won’t take it. Some have taken their case to the international bodies and if care is not taken, our sports might suffer heavy blow for this step taken by Dalung.
“Since he assumed office, peace has eluded majority of the sports federations. From Taekwondo to football and basketball, it has been one crisis after another. Dalung said he is fighting corruption in the sports ministry, yet he can’t tell Nigerians what happened to the huge sum of money, put at about N654 million, left behind by former Director General of the then National Sports Commission (NSC) Alhassan Yakmut,” the official said angrily.
Contacted yesterday, the Minster’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mrs. Nneka Ikem-Anibeze said: “Anybody saying that about N654 million was left behind for the Sports Minister should go and ask Yakmut where he kept the money. I don’t know why some people always like to dwell on rumours.”