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Dalung: Sports ministry inventing drama because it isn’t prepared for Olympics

Dalung: Sports ministry inventing drama because it isn’t prepared for Olympics
May 02
13:37 2021

Solomon Dalung, immediate past minister of youth and sports development, says the Sunday Dare-led ministry is trying to cover its “inadequate preparedness” for the Olympics by “inventing drama”.

Dare had on Friday ordered the immediate dissolution of all national sports federations boards.

The directive had also instigated a response from Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, factional president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), who warned that such interference by the government into sports might incur sanctions from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and hamper the country’s chances of participating at the games billed for Tokyo in July.

“Very soon the IOC might ban Nigeria because the body doesn’t condone this. By next week, I can tell you we’ll start seeing reactions from international federations. Those international federations might decide to report to IOC and the committee might decide to ban Nigeria. Going to the Olympics might be a problem,” Shehu-Gusau had told TheCable.

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Also speaking with TheCable, Dalung, under whose watch all the dissolved boards were elected, labelled the development as “unfortunate”.

He also said that with the sacking of the boards — just a few months before the Olympics — the sports ministry showed no regard for the “independence of these federations”.

“The dissolution of the national sports federations is an unfortunate development. I think the ministry is not prepared for the Olympics and it’s trying to avoid the wrath of Nigerians by inventing drama,” the former minister said on Saturday.

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“The ministry should have come out clearly to tell Nigerians, ‘we are not prepared to participate in the Olympics’ and all we will do is participate as a flag member: going to participate in the march past.

“But dissolving the board now, the question is the board is a component of political and technical leadership. The technical leadership is responsible for all preparations of athletes but now that the dissolution has taken place and you have only three-member caretaker committees, what becomes of the preparation that has been on ground. My take is that the ministry, because of COVID-19, could not do much and is trying to instigate this drama.”

Dalung also said that the dissolution will chase off corporate bodies that have been investing in the sports federations due to its “democratisation policy”.

“The minister coming out with dissolution at this time will only instigate confusion and destroy the confidence of investors and sponsors who had, the democratization policy, started putting their investment in the various sports federations,” he added.

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