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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Minister of Sports Must Go – Dr. Rashid A. Balogun



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The Minister for Sports also regarded as Chairman of National Sports Commission announced at the opening ceremony of the 18thNational Sports Festival that the festival is now open to foreign based professionals contrary to the Executive Governor of Lagos State Mr. Fashola’s declaration that the festival aim is sports development.

Protocol aside, the feelings of many athletes and coaches suggests that this Minister was on Delta Governor’s payroll because he neither recognized efforts of Lagos State, Cross Rivers State, Benue State and others towards sports development but simply read manuscript of Dr. Uduaghan. Others suggested that the Minister is simply a fool not to understand that following the London Olympics Nigeria’s fiasco due to aged athletes should inform him that the focus must be on sports development rather than maintenance of old footed athletes. Either way the Minister got it wrong and its very unusual that the President is not in the mood exhibited today in firing of MBE Director General.

Dr. Uduaghan recently held meeting of journalist and discredited former athletes that were part of London Olympics fiasco in the heart of Asaba, Delta State while the flooding rampaged the State. The governor was advised by some people in search of relevance, such as Solomon Ogba (who destroyed Athletics Federation of Nigeria), Bert Cameron (Jamaican who attended school and worked in USA for about 20yrs) and other idiots that he should lobby the Minister to allow foreign professionals take over the festival without even considering the fact that Delta cannot boast of good youth athletes.

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Blessing Okagbare will not have had the opportunity without the emphasis of Youth by Dr. Uduaghan predecessor (Ibori). National Athletics Championship is standards based, Golden League is standard based and many other championships. Stadiums were empty and no fanfare suggested by the Minister.

As a consolation the Minister claimed that there will be National Youth Festival but he does not understand that sports development cannot start with festivals rather from training. The costs incurred by various states to engage professionals from abroad most definitely will reduce any funds available to train the Youth or even attend the National Youth festival.

A single foreign based athlete attendance will cost at least $10,000 for airline tickets, accommodation and allowance. That amount alone can prepare over 100 Youths to attend the festival. Quite frankly, a boycott will likely occur by some states if this decision stands and I really doubt if this Minister will last longer than this year.

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How do we begin to note how workable this decision will have on foreign based football professionals? The answer is, it is unlikely and the flare that the Minister seeks evaporates. Clearly this decision was purely aimed at athletics at the convenience of Dr. Uduaghan in the same sense as Delta meeting tagged “sports summit”. I said it before and will say it again that the Delta governor is being advised by good-for-nothing idiots.

Many states are running budget deficits and I don’t see how the Minister got no clue why his action was not thoroughly evaluated. All in all this is one too many wrong decisions and this Minister and his advisers must go.

I rest.

Dr. Rashid A. Balogun, CPA, LLB(Hons.), LLM(London)

Copy : His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan

Honourable Senator Ibrahim Gumba


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