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Solomon Dalung has our full backing, reform is good for our sports – athletes

*Tell him not to listen to NOC, IOC propagandists

By Ayo Fasanmi (Ilorin), Oluwole Francis (Abuja), Yinka Elebute (Port Harcourt), Michael Jonah (Jos)

Cross section of Nigerian athletes interviewed across the states have given Barrister Solomon Dalung a pat in the back by standing with the decisions of the stakeholders in the Abuja sports stakeholders forum which led to the exclusion of certain persons who are inimical to the administration in sports in the country.

Ejide, a judoka, in Abuja told www.gongnews.net “he (Solomon Dalung) should be told that we the main actors are praying for him to be able to stand by the decisions already announced. That is the only way new faces with better ideas of managing our sports will come up. It I now that some fresh air and hope seems to be coming. He should stand by the masses and God will be with him.”

Omaka Ekwueme, a Taekwondo athlete spotted after training at the National Stadium in Surulere in Lagos said, “we have been following the debate. The minister should just remain with the bigger interest of the nation. His decision is right. let those whose international bodies and IOC Charter go to the nation of their choice not Nigeria. The government has decided what is best for the people. If they are not satisfied, they should abdicate their citizenship of Nigeria and go to the nation of their choice.”

Waidi Ajayi, a weightlifter in Ilorin opined, “we are praying for minister Solomon Dalung for this reform. Please tell him not to concede to those folks whose only source of income is the mismanagement of sports. That is why they want to remain there for life. With NOC President, Habu Gumel, holding seven positions, how has it benefitted sports?”

Oyewole Oyebola, a former volleyball player for the national teams in the 1980s said, “with the game that brought some of us to prominence, fame and fortune finally buried by Gumel after he took over the sport, what else does he want? He wants to just remain there and be attending meeting, earning estacodes and allowances while the sport is not advancing.”

“This is part of why I love what Mr Solomon Dalung has done with the new guideline. God will bless him. When I first heard of the decision, I went celebrating. Many of my friends around me never knew I played the sport not to even talk of playing for the country. When I told them I played professional volleyball in Tunisia between 1985 and 1989, they doubted me until I brought out pictures.”

The six footer lanky senior bank Executive said, “with the exit of Gumel and his ilks, now I am ready to campaign for some level of sponsorship to help bring back the lost glory of the game. Handball, volleyball, basketball were sports with the highest sponsorships in the 80s. In Ilorin those days, people will prefer to pay to watch these sports than football. Their exit is good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Abdullahi Adamu, a sprinter, in Jos said, “Was it not the same gudelines by the same Ministry and NSC that brought the protesting sports maladministrators into office? What was good for them then is no more good for others now. Kai! They should leave our country for us. How many of the so called federations have constitutions? I read the NOC’s reply to one Oni Guarantor Afolabi on Facebook and I was so angry about the fraud in their reply. We don’t want the so called IOC Charter they couldn’t cite here.”

Ibinabo George, a female handball player was of the view that, “in my own game, we have lost it all. The continued presence of Mr Yusuf Dauda is simply not good for the game. We want a new face. We want those who have played the game, who know what it takes to make the sport great. We don’t want all these old people who have no focus, no plan and want to keep the offices for the sake of their personal pocket.”

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