*Nigeria Olympic Fund is the way to go
By Collins Ajibola, Yinka Elebute, Oluwole Francis
Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has hit back at federations’ Presidents who are calling for the return of National Sports Commission in replacement of his ministry.
Some of the federation’ Presidents told Senate committee on sports in a public hearing held last week in Abuja that Nigerian sports could only be revived with the return of the NSC, accusing sports ministry of ineptitude and incompetence.
Dalung seemingly replying his critics said at the celebrity endorsement of the Nigeria Olympic Fund on Thursday, saying “there’s going to be a revolution in the quality of those who will manage sports federations. He said, some people played football and suddenly emerge from the blues and want to manage boxing or
cricket, I will interfere and send them back to where they belong.”
Dalung accused some of the administrators, saying they have been part of the rot in the system. He accused them of mismanagement and insincerity in their financial dealings. “Nigerians have the right to know the federations’ revenue records. Some of them collect monies from their international bodies unknown to even the media and yet government to do everything for them.
“They should publish their accounts on grants received in foreign currencies for the development of sports. The federations do not need to attend every event on their calendar. They require choosing a few ones that are important to develop their sport and the athletes.
“But they want to go everywhere because of special interest. When they go out and win huge prizes they do not usually
bring them back the money from their sponsors to government. They are now turning back to blame government whenever their teams are unable to go for such competitions, when in the true sense of it they are not sourcing for sponsorships,” he added.
“I reiterated it on assumption of office that sports should be private sector-driven because it is bigger than what government can do alone. Government is financing sports 99.9 per cent in Nigeria. The stadia are built by government and money is also provided for the training of athletes,” he said.
Dalung said he would be a glad man if at the end of his tenure he leaves a private sector-driven sports industry behind. He said his next step was to reposition the federations with people with lofty ideas about marketing by the elections next year.
Permanent Secretary Mr Christian Ohaa also signed up on the support for the Nigeria Olympic Fund project.