From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Aggrieved board members of 31 dissolved sports federations have issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, to reverse what they called an illegal decision.
They threatened that should the minister fail to rescind the decision within the stipulated period, they will not only mobilise Nigerians to ground the ministry, but also institute legal proceedings against his action.
Reading a prepared speech, Frederick Abah of the Judo federation, warned the minister to desist from jeopardising the future of Nigerian sportsmen and women with his decision.
Titled the “Rejection of illegal and unlawful dissolution of 31 boards of federations”, the aggrieved members said:
‘Board members of the 31 sports federations met in Abuja on Tuesday and totally rejected the arbitrary and untimely dissolution of the Boards of duly and democratically elected federations.
‘The board members also condemned and rejected the establishment of caretaker committees over duly and democratically elected sports federations whose tenures were yet to expire.
‘The members unequivocally stated that on no account will the Caretaker Committees be recognised by the International Bodies of the various sports federations in place of the duly elected boards.
‘The federations noted that the Minister of Youth and Sports and the ministry lied when they claimed that the tenures of the boards have expired. Board elections were held on June 13, 2017 and the inauguration into office was done on July 10, 2017 for a 4-year tenure. The tenure will therefore expire on July 10, 2021 and not April 30, 2021 when the federations were dissolved.
‘Board members wish to inform the public that no provision in the Code of Governance empowers the Minister to dissolve boards of duly and democratically elected federations and no legislation, law, regulation or instrument empowers the Minister or the ministry to set up Caretaker Committees.
‘The Board members of the 31 sports federations hereby give the Minister a 48-hour ultimatum within which he is to rescind and reverse all unlawful pronouncements he made over the dissolution of duly appointed Board members of sports federations or face appropriate reactions from the Federations. We will not only ground the ministry with protest but also institute legal action against the Minister.
‘The minister and the ministry is urged to desist from jeopardising the future of our youths especially Nigeria’s sportsmen and women, by putting the country at risk of being banned from participating at the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.
‘The board members restated that sports Caretaker Committees can never be allowed to replace duly elected Boards whose tenures are yet to expire.
‘It also stated that it will do all in its power to stop autocracy in sports, especially in a democratic dispensation.’
The federations that signed to be part of the action include: Aquatic, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Chess, Cricket, Cycling, Darts, Deaf Sports, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, Wushu, Rowing, Canoeing & Yatching, Rugby, Scrabble, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis, Traditional Sports, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling federations.