Sports Ministry Exempts Athletics Federation From Dissolution Of 31 Boards

Mr Sunday Dare Minister of Youth and Sports Development

BEVERLY HILLS, May 03, (THEWILL) – The contentious dissolution of the boards of all 31 sporting federations in the country by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD), which, according to the Honourable Minister Sunday Dare, was to ensure compliance with standard stipulations of the Olympic cycle, is still causing ripples in sports circles.

This is more so as the Ministry has held its ground over the decision to dissolve the boards in all but one federation where it has not-so-surprisingly retraced its steps because of the already fractious status quo therein; which is the board of the Athletics Federal of Nigeria (AFN).

As reported by THEWILL, in the exercise of the statutory responsibility of the oversight functions of the FMYSD over the sporting federations in the country, Dare, represented by the Director, Federation Elites and Athletes Department, Dr Simon Ebohjaiye, on Friday, ordered the dissolution of the boards of all 31 sporting federations.

While the dissolution took some of the board members by surprise, Dare’s statement at the instance of dissolving the boards made it clear why it was a necessary step

The Minister said:  “Following the provision of the Olympic Charter, the tenure of the national Olympic Sports Federations in Nigeria has come to an end. There is a need for a transition from the old boards to new ones.”

To keep the important activities that these federations performed running smoothly, the Minister simultaneously placed the affairs of all dissolved boards under caretaker committees set up to hold the forte until fresh elections.

It did not come as a surprise that several of the board members reacted sharply to the action of the Ministry and immediately kicked against the dissolution of their boards. Their main grouse was that it was wrong for the ministry to claim that they had reached the end of their terms as they still had about two more months since they were inaugurated on Wednesday, June 21, four years ago.

Without joining in the bickering about the two months leftover, the FMYSD rather backpedalled only in the case of the dissolution of the AFN board. It did this through a press statement that notified the media that the care-taker committee of the AFN, which was initially to be chaired by Olumide George, one of the factional leaders of the crisis rocking the federation, will no longer be inaugurated.

THEWILL had earlier disclosed that in a concerted bid to resolve the lingering crisis that has taken far-reaching legal implications within the administration of athletics in Nigeria, the World Athletics’ (WA) ordered the AFN to hold its elective congress before June 14, as a way to get the Federation back under structured guidance and leadership.

This was the conclusion of a crisis resolution meeting between the representatives of the WA and the AFN held last week at the country’s capital in Abuja. Jackson Tuwei, the chairman of Athletics Kenya, and a Chief Executive Officer of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), led the visiting WA reps to the meeting and he was accompanied by a Senegalese Athletics official.

Following from this, the FMYSD said elections into the Federation will be organised on June 14 date.

In the statement from the Ministry, the decision to withhold the inauguration was explained: “In Consonance with the resolution reached by the Confederation of African Athletics/World Athletics intervention team on the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, the Caretaker Committee announced for the Athletics Federation of Nigerian is rested and will not be inaugurated.

“Elections into the board of the federation will follow the road map adopted at the intervention meeting in Abuja last month upon its adoption by World Athletics.”

A decision was also taken by the Ministry to reverse the appointments of Engineer Habu Gumel and Mr. Banjo Oladapo. The duo were initially appointed to serve in the volleyball and Table Tennis Federations respectively.

In addition to these, Prof. E.O Morakinyo has replaced Gumel in Volleyball, Oladapo has been substituted with Barrister Oshodi Enitan in the table tennis federation committee, as well.