Stakeholders petition Senate, minister, want cricket president barred from federation board
• They are a frustrated group, envious of my achievements, says Onyeama
A group of stakeholders have petitioned the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung praying that immediate past president of the Nigerian Cricket Federation (NCF), Mr. Emeka Onyeama be stopped from vying for membership of any sports federation board. Their argument is that the cricket boss is not fit and proper to be on the board of any sport association/federation.
But Mr. Onyeama has dismissed their petition as a desperate effort by a group of selfish people envious of his achievements as NCF president.In the petition entitled, “Disqualification of Mr. Emeka Onyeama from the board of any sports federation,” and signed by Olufemi John, King’s College Old Boy, the stakeholders said it would be wrong to present Mr. Onyeama “as a government nominee or elected member from the zones into the board of any sport association and most especially the cricket federation.”
“One of the criteria for such a position requires the nominee to be of good character and must be financially independent/solvent. Mr. Onyeama has not projected any of these qualities.
“From public records, it is evinced that his company Voix Networks, which he incorporated as a sole proprietorship and which was later converted to a limited liability company (with which he still has controlling stakes and in fact is the de facto Alpha) is indebted to Unity Bank in violation of the terms and conditions of the facility granted and has been classified as a lost loan by the Central Bank of Nigeria and Unity Bank hence the publishing and blacklisting of the company and its directors from the Credit Bureau Register within the banking industry in Nigeria.”
They also accused Onyeama of mismanaging the cricket association, saying his style of leadership has led to the mass resignation of players from the national team.
His continuous participation in the running of the cricket association would not only malign the reputation of the association, but also sustain the steady decline cricket development in Nigeria,” it said.
Among the stakeholders, who want Onyeama barred from holding any sports office, are PakriboTelema-Daregoe, who is an Abuja-based Cricketer/Fitness, Wellness and Health Consultant and Michael Egiethua, who is the secretary general of Cricket Club Abuja (CCA).
Egiethua said he has proof that Mr. Onyeama has been paying his staff with NCF money, adding, “the man has destroyed Nigerian cricket.”Reacting to the petition yesterday, Onyeama said it was ridiculous that some people in their desperation “are bringing my private company into their ambition. What is the correlation between my company and performance as NCF president?
“I know their sponsors. The people mentioned are being used by certain individuals, who are jealous of my achievements in four years. These are selfish people, who think that cricket must revolve round King’s College and St. Gregory’s College. I have taken the game to Nigerians. Now they play cricket in 30 states of the federation unlike before when it was a Lagos affair.”
Listing his achievements, Onyeama said he has built two cricket ovals in Abuja, adding, “ These are world class facilities, the first of its kind in Nigeria and the West African sub region, which started under the Onyeama-led NCF. It is located at the Package B of the National Stadium, Abuja.
“When we came on board, our focus was how to institutionalize cricket in Nigeria and popularize the game at the grassroots which has never been before.
“These cricket ovals are Nigeria’s ticket to the global cricket community. There are so many gains in this noble venture by the NCF.
“Upon completion of these facilities, the country can now bid for international competitions which will in no small way impact on the overall development of the sport in Nigeria.”
He dismissed the allegation that Nigeria has dropped out of the World Cricket League, saying, “We are trying to build cricket from the grassroots so that we can now begin to talk about sustainable development.
“We want a situation where our players will have direct access to top class facilities to train, play their league games and train for international competitions.”