Angry Reps demand shift of federations’ polls
The House of Representatives yesterday rebuked the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung for dissolving boards of all the 42 National Sports Federations without recourse to constitutionality. The lawmakers have also called on the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports to postpone the planned elections into the national sports federations and recall members of the sacked boards.
The House also mandated its Committee on Sports to investigate the non-release of funds appropriated for the federations in 2016. These decisions followed a motion calling on the House to seek the postponement of planned elections into the federations and recall members of the dissolved boards.
Sponsor of the motion, Ayodeji Adebayo Joseph (APC, Lagos) in his debate noted that the ministry 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 the minister erred in setting agenda for the sporting federations, adding that the dissolution of the boards would 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, Ayo Omidiran (APC, Osun) said the action of the minister amounted to 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,” she explained.
On his part, 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,” Pwajok argued.
The federations were inaugurated in May 2013, and by tradition, should be dissolved after every Olympic Games. Dalung said the action would ensure a free and fair elections which has been shifted to June 13.