We’ll use sports to engage Niger Delta youths, says Yakmut

 Al-Hassan Yakmut

Al-Hassan Yakmut

Former Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), who has just been posted to the Ministry of Niger Delta as Director, Al-Hassan Yakmut, says that the ministry would use sports to engage youths in the region.

The office of the National Sports Commission (NSC) was recently scrapped by the Presidency following its merging with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development office.

Yakmut was appointed NSC DG in April 2015 by then President Goodluck Jonathan, after for the former DG, Gbenga Elegbeleye, was removed.

Under Yakmut’s tenure as Director General of the NSC, Nigerian sports made a great progress, finishing second position at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville. Four years earlier in Maputo, Team Nigeria could only place third behind South Africa and Egypt at the end of the 10th All Africa Games.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Yakmut, a former national volleyball player said his posting to the Niger Delta Ministry would turn out to be blessing, especially for youths in the region and the country at large.

“I have been a sports man all my life and I am happy the Niger Delta Ministry had been using sports to turn around things in that region. The people of Niger Delta have contributed so much to the nation’s sports and I will contribute my quotas as a Director in the ministry.

“As soon as I settled down in my new office, we will fashion out ways of improving on existing sports policy of the ministry as it concerns Niger Delta people, particularly the youths. There are great swimmers, wrestlers, boxers, footballers and track and field stars from the region. What the ministry will do is to look at possible ways of organizing sports competitions for the youths from time to time. The nations will surely benefit at the long run,” Yakmut said.

Meanwhile, Yakmut has described as ‘laughable’ online reports that some junior and senior staffs in the sports ministry celebrated his redeployment.

According to the online reports, some junior and senior cadres in the federal secretariat accused Yakmut of self-centeredness in the day-to-day running of the commission.

“That was the imagination of the reporter because I had good working relationship with both the junior and senior staffs in the commission,” Yakmut said. “I am sure the reporter is angry because of what happened at the last All African Games in Congo where he said the NSC did not pay him estacodes.

I was not even aware he travelled to Congo. I got to know of his trip to Congo much later and that is what he is still holding against me till now. In any case, estacodes we took to Congo was meant for the athletes, coaches and officials and not people who just strolled in to do their businesses in the country. I won’t join issues with him. Life goes on,” Yakmut added.

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