Woos sports stakeholders
BY JOE APU
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung has dared those who think they have evidence or documents against his ministry over funds given to the body to step forward as he is ready for probe.
The minister insists that accusations of mismanagement of funds given to the Ministry are not what should be taken lightly.
“These are issues that have to do with law and investigation because you must have facts to make allegations of mismanagement. So, during the period of state of emergency, and when mechanism and steps will be taken, I will be glad if people with evidence of misappropriation of funds will step forward with proof as this will help us build public confidence.
“We will need the co-operation of the state and local government in our quest to make changes at the grassroots level. Federations, athletes and journalists are also important components in this chain of change and reforms” Dalung stated.
Speaking after the Godwin Kienka chaired National Sports Reform committee on Sports submitted its report last week, Dalung also called on stakeholders in the sports industry to come together to take the industry to the desired height.
He reasoned that for the report to be fully implemented, everybody must contribute positively to actualise the dream.
“Part of reasons why we had to declare a state of emergency in sports is to take steps to regain public confidence which we have lost and this will take us to looking into what we have done in the past and where we didn’t do it well. We will also ensure that this report is made public and every stage of implementation is advertised and brought to the knowledge of Nigerians. This will help rekindle public confidence and assure investors that we will no longer do things the way we used to.”
Despite hinting that not all aspects of the report will be implemented within the tenure of the present administration, Dalung promised that the ministry will do its best to set the ball rolling.
According to him, sports is capable of becoming a billion dollar industry in Nigeria and needs a new direction at a time when the nation is trying to diversify its streams of income to revamp the economy.
He enjoined all stakeholders to be constructive in their criticism rather than employing the pull down at all cost tactics.
“To attract sponsors and investors, we need to present a united front. If we continue to attack ourselves on the pages of newspapers, nobody will take us serious or trust us enough to invest in us. We have demonstrated since inception, that we are open to advice and constructive criticisms. People don’t need to go on air or take to the pages of newspaper to talk about what they feel should be done when they have access to us at the ministry” the Minister concluded.