By JACOB AJOM, Algeria
Chairman House Committee on Sports, Honourable Godfrey Gaiya has questioned President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to the development of sports in the country.
In a no-holds-barred interview with Sports Vanguard at Hotel Charm El Sheikh in Oran, where the African Youth Championship is holding, the federal legislator said he is disappointed at the President’s handling of the affairs of sports despite the recommendations of the Presidential Retreat held last year at the instance of President Jonathan.
To be very straight with you, I must say we, at the National Assembly were very much disappointed because after the retreat and Mr President’s budget speech, we all expected a marked departure from the way sports was being handled.
We thought that having shown the type of commitment he exhibited by calling the retreat, we expected to see some drastic change, but that did not happen,” he said.
He recalled that the retreat clearly identified management and funding as the two main problems inhibiting the development of sports in the country and said, “we expected changes in both management and funding to give the sports sector a new lease of life but that has not been the case.”
He described sports as a “very critical sector in nation building” and expected the Presidency to have identified the potentials inherent in the sector and accord it the attention it desires.
“How can government allocate only N9 billion to all the sports federations including their activities, salaries, current and recurrent expenditure in a whole year and expect results?” he queried.
He said legislation for both the National Sports Commission and the Nigeria Football Federation would soon be passed by the National Assembly to the President for his assent.
“I am happy to tell you that we have reached a level I can confidently tell you that in a matter of months the bills will be passed into law and, except Mr President delays them, it will come to pass before the end of this year.”
He said the enabling laws will give the two organizations the required legal status with well-spelt out functions and obligations.
“For instance, why should the ministry not have a permanent secretary? What is the tenure of the DG? There is no way we can get any meaningful results from a chaotic situation as obtained presently. I don’t think sports should be run on an adhoc basis.”