By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel
…demand postponement of planned elections
The House of Representatives on Wednesday lambasted the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung over the dissolution of the boards of all the 42 National Sports Federations.
This is as it called on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the planned elections into the National Sports Federations and recall members of the boards that were dissolved.
The House also mandated its Committee on Sports to investigate the non-release of funds appropriated for the sports federation in 2016.
These decisions are consequent upon a motion impressing on the House to call for the postponement of planned elections into the National sports federations and recall members of the board that was dissolved.
Sponsor of the motion, Hon. Ayodeji Adebayo Joseph in his debate, noted that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports recently dissolved the Boards of the various National Sports Federations and issued guidelines for elections into the Federations without recourse to constitutions guiding them.
He argued that it was wrong of the minister to set agenda for the sporting federations adding that the dissolution of the board will affect the country’s participation in world tournaments.
“The guidelines provide that prospective candidates who had spent two terms of four( 4) years each would not be eligible to contest elections into the Sports Federations.
“Each Federation derives its powers from its Constitution and is autonomous and any attempt to tamper with the Constitutions without due process or by fiat is unlawful”, he said
Similarly, Hon. Ayo Omidiran said the action of the minister is nothing but insubordination.
She stressed the need to reconstitute the boards and return their members to complete their tenure.
“These federations have their heads elected to spend specific tenure in line with provisions of their constitution, and if only the constitutions are followed to the latter, then we will not have issues, but for a minister to just sit and said all the boards stand dissolved is to say the constitutions don’t matter”.
On his part, Hon. Edward Pwajok noted that the issue was an international one as it is national adding that the action of the minister could attract sanctions.
“We are part of the international community and this means that before we change our guidelines, we must get the support of the international community.
“We all know very well that sport is a very touchy issue in Nigeria, because it’s one thing that unites Nigerians no matter their differences. And we also know that international federations do not deal with the government except through relevant sports federations as set up in the country.
“For instance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can only conduct it’s activities in Nigeria through the National Olympic Committee (NOC), and so with other sports federations that have global affinity.
“So it’s not alright for the sports Ministry to just dissolve them and sack their executives without allowing them to finish their tenure as provided for by the laws setting them up”, Pwajok argued.
Also. Hon. Adamu Chika noted that the dissolution was not a patriotic action as the international community would not want o deal with an adhoc.
“We can’t have someone acting with your impunity just because he is a minister. Every association has its rules and regulations. You cannot just decide to change all that”.
It would be recalled that Dalung on Friday, announced the dissolution of the boards of all the 42 National Sports Federations.
He also directed all Secretaries to take charge of their various Federations during the election process.
The federations were inaugurated in May 2013, and by tradition, should be dissolved after every Olympic Games.
Dalung said this will ensure a free and fair elections which has been shifted to June 13.