By Albert Akota
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has said he will not be distracted by unfounded allegations, insinuations, blackmail and the smear campaign that have now become a cancer in our sports administration.
He made the declaration while speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Benin City, Edo state.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Olusade Adesola, the Minister indicated that his administration will not be stampeded into taking decisions that are inimical to the reforms taking place in the sports industry while affirming the place of due process in whatever the ministry does.
He said, “It bears stating here that we live in a country where the rule of law exists. The institutions of law charged with fighting corruption and funds misapplication must be allowed to perform their functions.
Anarchy reigns where the rule of law is jettisoned or where a few decide to take the laws into their hands. The wheel of justice turns at times slowly, but it surely turns.
“Orchestrated and deliberate attempts to stampede the government or input without proof actions or inactions are not in the best interest of sports development. There are global standards to investigate allegations.
“Nigeria cannot change them simply because some people are in a hurry to get justice and by any means possible. We have seen how painstaking, thorough and sometimes how long investigations in international sporting bodies have taken. Some are still ongoing.
“As Minister of Youth and Sports Development, I lead the new dispensation of a transparent and accountable sports administration at all levels within the ministry and the federations.
I will not be distracted by unfounded allegations, insinuations, brazen blackmail and the putrid smear campaign that have now become a cancer in our sports administration.
“I speak only for myself. But I want to see things done differently. It will take time and patience laced with some tenacity to insist on things being done correctly.
“The first step towards reducing corruption is for all transactions in football to be transparent and it starts now. transparency should be new watchword if the NFF and its affiliates want to do the business of soccer to rake in millions as is the case in other climes.
Transparency can only be attained when the activities of the federation are subjected to routine checks, while those found culpable are made to face the wrath of the law, no matter whose ox is gored.
“If corruption is reduced, blue-chip firms will return to support the federation to actualize some of its noble objectives which include recreating a sustainable nursery to catch talents young and stop the viscous cycle of age-cheats, which happily has been reduced, given the reports from FIFA in the last age-gradeCV competition where no Nigerian failed the test,” the minister stressed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dare repeated an earlier demand that the NFF addressed the negative perception of corruption around it.