The Ebonyi Ministry of Youth Development and Sports on Monday in Abakaliki said the state Football Association (FA) election held on Saturday was faulty.
Tidesports source reports that the election had seen the return of Sen. Obinna Ogba (PDP–Ebonyi Central) as a re-elected chairman
The furore generated by the election, especially the candidate’s emergence after a reign as chairman for more than 10 years, among other issues had led to a discontent.
This situation was in spite of the election’s conduct by officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Jonathan Okoronkwo, the ministry’s permanent secretary however, told newsmen on Monday that the election did not follow the stipulated guidelines for the conduct of state FA elections.
He said the ministry had sought the election’s postponement from the NFF as recommended by the review committee it set up and which he headed.
“We discovered that the electoral committee did not offer the contestants a `level-playing ground’ to contest, while the manner in which the delegates (electorate) emerged was faulty.
“The committee profiled the delegates and discovered that they are not engaged in football administration as stipulated in the guidelines and one of them belonged to a club owned by an interested party in the elections.
“There is no way such a person can be an unbiased voter and we further discovered that the electoral committee was set up in 2014.
“This electoral committee oversaw the 2015 state FA election and it is then clear that it has overstayed its required tenure of four years,” the permanent secretary said.
He further noted that the election was supposed to have been held at the Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium in Abakaliki but it was instead held inside a hotel in the town.
“The electoral guidelines stipulate that representatives of the ministry should observe and supervise the election and this fact is even contained in the programme of events for the election,’’ Okoronkwo added.
He then said the sports ministry would properly review events surrounding the conduct of the election, while advising aggrieved contestants to seek redress at the appropriate quarters.
The permanent secretary also faulted claims by NFF officials that the request for the election’s postponement amounted to interference by government, noting that such an assertion was “ill-informed’’.
“The ministry provides the logistics for the FA to operate in the state, such as office accommodation, among others, while the FA secretary is an appointee of government.
“These facts will not be seen as interference, but when the government insists that the right things be done to improve football in the state, it is termed interference” he said.
Chidi Okenwa, a member of NFF’’s Executive Committee who supervised the election, had said the federation viewed the request by the Ebonyi sports ministry as government interference.
He said it was an interference in the affairs of the FA board and congress in the state.
“The appeals committee has complied with the provisions of the Ebonyi FA statutes and guidelines for elections into the executive board and standing on this platform we are empowered to monitor this election,” Okenwa had said.
Chairman of the state FA Electoral Committee, Onyebuchi Ekuma, had said during the election that the committee was properly constituted while the elected officials satisfied all requirements to contest the election.
RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports
The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports.
He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered.
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents.
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said.
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development.
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.
24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship
The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including; the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.
Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials
Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran 10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday.
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record. The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster. The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.
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