*As federations pick their new leaders
By Olajide Fashikun, Oluwole Francis
Horse trading of places, positions and offices became the order of the day after the sports minister, Solomon Dalung, read his speech which signalled the open-ended contest of candidates for the federations in today’s election taking place in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Minister Monday urged members of the electoral committees for the National Sports Federation elections to deliver transparent and credible elections. He also inaugurated the 93 members of the 31 electoral committees for the 2017 National Sports Federation elections.
He said conducting elections had never been an easy task that requires courage, resilience and integrity.
Dalung listed some of the committees’ mandates to include: verification of candidates’ qualifications, conduct of elections for the zonal members, Vice-Presidents and Presidents of the federations.
He however said that a candidate could only be disqualified from contesting the elections based on the elections’ guidelines.
“The electoral officer must have the courage to do what is right, fair and just. He must have the resilience to weather the storm of criticism and unfair allegations. In our case, elections into the National Sports Federations are made even more difficult by the fact that sports is our national passion and everyone want us to get it right.
“Apart from the transition from the old tradition, where 13 people are appointed into the boards to elect the Federation president, the expansion of the Electoral College from 13 to 54 people is a unique challenge.
“It is in this context that I congratulate each of the members of the committees for their nomination. This indicates the hope and belief of the nation in your abilities to deliver this assignment right,” the minister said.
Dalung said it was important to get the elections right, adding that it was the foundation of the change the present administration was trying to establish.
He said the outcome of the elections would either justify or vilify the ministry’s intentions.
“It is the credibility of the process that will vindicate our stand to democratise the Sports Federations. If the process is fair, transparent and credible, both winners and losers will have a sense of victory because each party will know that the results were deserved,” he added.
Dalung said National Sports Federations were responsible for the growth of their respective sport and were expected to work with their respective affiliated Sports Associations.