Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, is craving the return of the National Sports Commission (NSC) to play a pivotal role in the new sports architecture being proposed to move the sector forward.
Speaking on an NTA Network Programme, Tuesday Live, Dalung said for the ministry to get it right in sports development, it must go back to the foundation of sports which is the grassroots.
“We have to restructure our sports architecture where government will concentrate on investing grants on talents or grassroots sports development while the elite sports will be left for the federations and professionalism,” stressed the minister who claimed not to be part of the move that scrapped the NSC.
Dalung explained that a technical committee was set up to streamline the merging of the Youth and Sports ministries of which he was not part of.
“The NSC was scrapped when I was appointed minister of Youth and Sports. The merging of two ministries to become one led to the establishment of a technical committee to merge the ministries. What came out of the report of the committee was just a briefing for me. The committee had already decided to merge the ministry independent of the minister (Dalung) but the popular opinion was that I scrapped NSC,” stressed the minister while fielding a question during the programme late Tuesday night.
He admitted that one of the major predicaments of sports administration in Nigeria was the election of people into offices of the federations.
“There, you have the immigration of people from their traditional sports to other federations to assume leadership.
“In the next elections, we will ensure that elections are conducted based on the rules and regulations of the federations.
“Federations will not be created for the purpose of accommodating political interests. They must be viable and functional and will be charged with the responsibility of identification of talents,” the minister further observed.
He pledged to have men and women of proven integrity on the boards of the federations at the next elections.
The minister continued: “The management of the resources is also important because when you talk about Corporate Nigeria, nobody will invest in a place where he’s not sure of transparent management of the resources. So the federations have to manage their affairs very transparently.”
Dalung however promised that shortly, the ministry will revisit the architecture of sports in Nigeria to ensure that it serves the passion of Nigerians against all these issues.
“We will soon put up a council memo that will get the backing of the Ministry of Education to restore school sports as part of the compulsory component of the school curriculum in Nigeria because sports development cannot be isolated from educational development. This has to be restored back to our school system,” he said.
On talents development, the minister noted that some of the athletes who took part in the Rio Games have been recycled over the years.
“Some of the athletes have been to the Olympics five to six times without replacements. How can we make progress without setting the pace for new talent development? So for me, the job for 2020 Olympic has started and by this week, we will begin to unfold some of the things we have for restructuring the sports architecture of the country and ensure that it is compatible with passion of Nigerians,” concludes the minister.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, Dream Team VI coach, Samson Siasia and two others who were part of Team Nigeria to the Rio2016 Games spoke on various ways to avoid a repeat of the country’s poor outing at the next Olympiad in Tokyo, Japan.
Nigeria finished in the 78th place on the final medals table with only a bronze medal won in the men’s football event.