*Elections postponed to June 2017
*New three-man electoral committees to conduct elections
By Oluwole Francis
Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has announced in Abuja the dissolution of the boards of all the 42 National Sports Federations.
According to a statement issued by the Minister’s SA Media, Nneka Anibeze-Ikem, “the Youth and Sports Development Minister Barrister Solomon Dalung who made the announcement also directed all Secretaries to take charge of their various Federations during the election process.
The dissolution which is one of the milestones of the existing State of Emergency in the sports sector in the country, may not be unconnected with certain moves that seek to undermine the electoral process by Federations, some of which have started seeking a six month tenure extension. This confirms www.gongnews.net story of the plan to extend the elections.
“In line with the Olympic Charter, all National Sports Federations are to serve for a period of four years. The federations were inaugurated in May 2013, and by tradition, federations are dissolved after every Olympic Games. Therefore, their tenure has now come to an end.
“To ensure a level playing ground and free and fair elections, where all shall be given equal opportunities to realise their ambition to contest the elections, the National Sports Federations are hereby dissolved from 5th May, 2017.
Secretaries are to take charge and run the affairs of their various federations during the process of the elections.”
The election date has also been extended to 13th June, 2017 while every other programme for the electoral process will be adjusted to fit into the new election date. Further announcement on the new time table will be released in due course.
Barrister Dalung recalled that one year ago, he called for the constitutions of all sports federations but only five complied till date. He stated that ahead of the forthcoming elections, guidelines were approved by stakeholders and a process was put in place.
He expressed his determination and commitment to a successful transition process of democratising the National Sports Federations and producing credible leadership to meet the yearnings and aspirations of sport-loving Nigerians.
To this effect, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee NOC will facilitate the electoral process.
“As part of our commitment to a free and fair process, the Ministry requested the National Sports Federations to submit copies of their constitutions. Unfortunately, as at today, only five federations complied, leaving the Ministry and the NOC with no other option than to organize the elections based strictly on the guidelines except those federations who submitted their constitutions and there are certain requirements of notice, of which in the spirit of free and fair elections will be exempted.”
The Sports Minister has also directed the Ministry to consult widely with the NOC and recommend 3 credible names to constitute the electoral committee for scrutiny, confirmation and subsequent inauguration.
He noted that the process of democratising the National Sports Federations, though historic is not free from challenges while harping on the Ministry’s determination to deliver on its commitment.
“We shall make amendments and moderations of the transition programme as we progress and if the occasion demands. However, the election is the only thing that is sacrosanct.”