Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung says contrary to speculations in certain quarters, that the former director general of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Alhassan Yakmut was sacrificed, that he only carried out a government directive.
Briefing journalists in Abuja last weekend, Dalung noted that with the merging of Sports with the Ministry of Youth, that there was no way the office of the director general should have remained because there was no single law of the country backing the NSC.
“The DG was never sacrificed, the National Sports Commission was only a presidential creation, there is no single law backing the NSC. The only law we had was the 1971 decree and that decree was never updated when law reforms took place in 2004 and in law any legislation that never received the attention of the legislature is par-excellence dead.
“So if the legislature did not even update the National Sports Commission decree of 1971 and there is no legislation now designating it as a parastatal of government, so President who created the NSC in a pronouncement has taken it back. I did not see the NSC because I was appointed Minister of Youth and Sports.”
Also reacting on the controversy that trailed the renewal of the contract of the two American High Performance Directors, Angy Taylor and Eric Campbell, Dalung said he saved Nigeria a huge embarrassment following the manner the former DG, Yakmut Alhassan relieved them of their duties.
According to him, Alhassan did not tell Nigerians the actual reasons he took a unilateral decision to sack the expatriates without even consulting him as the minister in charge of sports.
“Shortly after I was appointed minister, I was in my office and the DG went and sat with the directors and sacked the High Performance Director without even referring to me as a minister. The only thing I knew was that I saw an American citizen approach me that she wanted to see me. Even when I resumed as a minister, directors were introduced to me and I didn’t see her. So I was taken aback why a foreign national claiming to be a director wanted to see me, I allowed her in.
“She explained to me that they were recruited by Nigeria and that their contract had been terminated in serious breaches and she itemized from the contract document those things that were supposed to be done which Nigeria did not and has proceeded to terminate their contract and then I invited the DG and asked him who was that lady and he introduced her as a former director and I asked when she became former and it was that morning. The coaches they fired wanted to go to their embassy and complain and what could have happened was that the President would have called me that I had terminated the contract of the coaches without due processes.”
Dalung however, revealed that due to the rising exchange rate, he was able to renegotiate the payment of the foreign directors from about $15,000 dollars to $10,000 dollars each month.