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Cash-for-vote destroyed the integrity of sports federation election

*Directors of state sports councils were culprits

By Olajide Fashikun, Oluwole Francis

When President Olusegun Obasanjo called civil servants in the nation evil servants, he may have had the nation’s Directors of Sports in mind. They were the albatross of the recently concluded election. They were behind the Cash-for-vote crisis in the sports federation elections.

The election which was marred by cash-for-vote undermined the integrity of the process as well as swung the elections against many of those who believed they don’t have to buy votes to serve the nation.

There are allegations that the Directors of Sports of the various states made a fortune with this electoral process. They collected from contesting parties and on the day of elections, they practically disappeared into thin air.

On the second level are those who ‘bought’ the delegates, accommodated them, brought them to the venue of the election. One of the candidates that eventually won his federation seat was caught giving the delegates their letters from the Director of Sports at the stadium. They also determined who id to be voted for.

Ironically, many of the delegates to the election were strangers to the sports they are supposed to represent as chairman.

Another snag of the election was the misapplication of the electoral process especially for President and Vice President. www.gongnews.net had done a report on this. The speech of the minister of sports while inaugurating the electoral committee on the 12th of June vindicated our position.

In about seven sports federations, persons considered to be ‘minister’s friends’ were told they would have emerged from the 13 positions contested for to run as President. One of such victims is Godwin Kienka. Whereas, 16 federations allowed 28 people who did not get voted to run.

Informed sources told www.gongnews.net that there are nine staffers of the ministry who had already fixed themselves into various sports federation were ordered by the minister to vacate such positions. The minister was quoted to have given such order on the strength of the fact that as staffers of the ministry, they are regulators. So, how come regulators will be industry players. This irked them badly.

Above all, Nigeria did not maximise the foresight of the reform that informed the decisions of Minister Solomon Dalung. A deep analysis of the winners in the various sports federations did not portray hope. Maybe with athletics, tennis, Badminton, handball, volleyball and a handful sport with the appropriate heads but the quality of members leave one gasping for breadth. Some semblance of hope may not be glinting. The bandwagon effect of members leaves one with the impact of the cash-for-vote which informed their wrong choices. Many of these members will disappear after their inauguration on the 4th July.

For the Directors of Sports, enjoy your loots. For our sports, enjoy your bleeding heart.

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