*How Nigerians hit Representatives to submission
*By Sandra Onyekwere, Olayinka Elebute, Oluwole Francis
In what seems like a monumental victory for the ongoing sports reform the outbursts of the House of Representatives may seem to have been shelved with the Green Chambers giving the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, the go ahead and clearance to continue with the programmes of the federation election.
Authoritative sources close to the parliament revealed to www.gongnews.net that the minister has been given the clearance to proceed with his ministry’s planned activities concerning the elections.
The Green Chamber had been under severe attack from major stakeholders in the nation’s sports industry.
Though the minister had also not received high ratings but he got a wholesome support against the House of Representatives that had worked so hard to stop the progress and time table of the elections which some folks wanted stopped at all costs.
www.gongnews.net would recall that Dalung had announced the dissolution of the federations’ boards on 5th May, directed all secretaries to take charge of their various federations ahead of the election, scheduled for 13th June.
The minister also amended the guidelines for elections, which now allowed federation presidents, who had served two terms of four years each, to vie for a final term in office at the forthcoming elections, as against the earlier decision barring them from contesting for another tenure in office after two terms.
He then constituted a seven-man electoral appeals committee to decide on all appeals and petitions arising from the elections.
The committee is headed by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the sports ministry AbdulRazak Salau. Other members are Aminu Idris, Colonel Maharaja Mahmoud (retd.) Tunde Kazeem, Emmanuel Zira and Mrs. Carol Ojukwu, who serves as secretary.
“We reviewed some provisions of the guidelines and we agreed that there was need for us to reach a consensus. We decided to make amendments to some of the guidelines after wide consultations with the stakeholders in the industry to conform to the International Olympic Committee charter and International best practices,” the minister explained to the nation before the parliament’s grand standing and threat to even arrest him.
“In our resolve to produce a democratically elected National Federations, we met with the stakeholders to revisit and fine tune the guidelines. We have also put in place a check mechanism as the congress will now elect the Presidents. We gave them that grace of a last chance to contest for three terms and that will be final.”
Dalung got high ranking: Solomon Dalung’s move to dissolve the boards was widely applauded by stakeholders. It was seen as giving a level playing field for contestants, as incumbent federation presidents won’t have unfair advantage over their opponents during the elections.
The House in its unpopular resolution on the floor condemned the minister’s action and requested him to postpone the forthcoming elections as well as recall members of the dissolved boards.
A member of the House, Ayodeji Joseph, from Ondo State, moved the obnoxious motion calling for the postponement of the elections and reinstatement of all the federations’ board members. But he however erred when he stated that the guidelines restricted presidents who had served two tenures from contesting during the elections.
The amended guidelines states clearly that federation bosses who had served two terms could contest for another term at the elections.
The wicked Josephine motion: The Rep stated in his wicked voice: “My Motion is on the call on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the planned elections into the National Sports Federations and recall members of the boards that were dissolved. The House notes that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports recently dissolved the boards of the various National Sports Federations and issued guidelines for elections into the federations.
“Also, note that the guidelines provide that prospective candidates, who have spent two terms of four years each will not be eligible to contest into the sports federations. (Be) aware that each federation derives its powers from its constitution and is autonomous. And any attempt to tamper with the constitution without due process or by fiat is unlawful.
“Also, (be) aware that the national federations are part of the Olympic Movement, which has its own code and governance ethics and the supreme instrument is the Olympic charter.”
“The house resolves to call on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the planned elections into the boards of the National Sports Federations and recall all members of the various sports federation that were dissolved and mandate the Committee on Sports to investigate the role of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports in interfering and issuing the guidelines for elections into the federations and report within three weeks.
House gets knocks on the head: However, major players in the sports industry see the House of Representatives move as amounting to overreaching its powers.
“The House has no powers to overturn an executive action, which is what the minister’s action is. The House can exercise an oversight function by inviting the minister to the House and questioning him on the issue but not to out rightly say it has overturned his decision behind his back. This brings the law into disrepute,” Colonel Sam Ahmedu (retd.), a top basketball functionary opined.
“How can a federation president, who has finished his tenure, remain in office and will be the one to appoint an electoral committee that will conduct an election in which he or she is a candidate or has an interest? This is contrary to law and good conscience as there is the likelihood of bias,” Colonel Sam Ahmedu added.
Former Zamalek SC of Egypt handball player, Olajide Fashikun slammed the House for moving a motion for an issue that was not under their “oversight functions.”
“I think the House of Reps (members) don’t understand their work schedule. How do the federations’ elections concern them or fall under their oversight functions? They have a misconception of the size and depth of their powers,” he stated.
Abimbola Omisade, a lawyer alleged that “some members of the House were influenced by some sit-tight federation bosses in order to perpetrate themselves further in office. We reliably gathered that the House was deceived into this action by some federation presidents who feel that this level playing ground created by the minister will knock them out silly because they are no longer wanted by the people they want to preside over.
“Those behind this are some of the presidents that have spent over eight years. They just want to remain as presidents for life, attend global competitions, collect huge estacode and sleep in five-star hotels at the expense of the athletes, who stay in shanties during championships.”