Don’t throw Nigerian sports into darkness, Porbeni tells Dalung
• Says ‘there are other ways to get rid of unwanted officials’
Former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Coach Seigha Porbeni has advised the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, to find a ‘softer’ way to actualise his dream of sanitizing the various sports federations so as not to throw the nation’s sports into darkness.
Since the election guidelines released by Dalung, which disqualified some key officials from contesting in the June 20 polls, there have been talks in some quarters that the nation’s sports might incur the wrath of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and other sporting bodies.
Apart from knocking off some big names like the Nigeria Olympics Committee 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, the guidelines also banned Nigerians occupying positions in various international sports bodies from contesting for the post of president and vice president in the coming election.
However, Porbeni, an athletics coach, said yesterday in a message to The Guardian that the minister must find a way to formulate guidelines that are in conformity with the Constitution of the IOC.
“The IOC controls all Olympic Sports and every country that belong to this Charter are under compulsion to abide by the constitution or face serious sanctions,” Porbeni said. “Some of these federations’ presidents that are affected by the minister’s guidelines are still very useful and relevant to Nigerian sports. They were voted in and as well must be voted out, going by the democratic norms. There are other ways the Sports Ministry can get rid of those unwanted Presidents. The Minster should consult widely.”
In his active days as athlete, Porbeni was an all-rounder, competing in seven different sports. He was Nigeria’s first decathlete. He later trained as a coach and it was Porbeni who introduced combined events into the nation’s athletics, when the National Stadium, Lagos, was like Mecca of sports.
Speaking further, Porbeni, who was a former Director of Sports in Delta State said: “My humble stake on the sports federations’ guidelines is that in as much as we agree that some Federations President have outlived their usefulness in the federation in which they serve, the sports minister must not do things that will bring more crisis into our sports.
The Guardian recalls that on Wednesday, the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, kicked against the guidelines after its executive committee meeting in Lagos, calling for harmonisation of the guidelines in line with international best practices.