John Abah, member of the Kogi House of Assembly, on Friday called for the return of the state-owned football clubs to the Ministry of Youths and Sports for effective management.
Abah made the call in Lokoja during the 2017 budget defence by the ministry before the assembly’s committees on Youth and Sports as well as Finance and Appropriation, and Budget Monitoring.
Abah (PDP-Ibaji), who is Chairman of the assembly’s Finance and Appropriation Committee, queried the rationale behind placing the two clubs under the supervision of Government House Administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the clubs are Kogi United Football Club and Confluence Queens FC, both based in Lokoja.
The legislator said the clubs should “rightly’’ have been under the supervision of the Ministry of Youths and Sports.
“For administrative convenience and better performance of the clubs, they should be returned to the ministry where technocrats and experts in sports administration will oversee and prime the teams for better performance,’’ he said.
Responding, Kehinde Oloruntoba, the state’s Commissioner for Budget and Planning, explained that the situation came to be following the two clubs’ poor performance while under the ministry.
“Administrative bottlenecks, coupled with fraudulent practices and corruption in the ministry, made government to remove the clubs and bring them under the direct supervision of the state governor for better performance,’’ he said.
Oloruntoba said on several occasions the clubs were denied participation in important tournaments due to administrative bottlenecks and, even where they managed to participate, their performances were often dismal.
The commissioner stated that the effects of poor preparation, non-payment of allowances and the case of ministry officials wanting to cut corners had given the state a bad name.
“Government, in its determination then to restore the clubs to their lost glory, removed them from the ministry.
“However, if the House now decides that they should remain under the Ministry of Youths and Sports, we have no objection. Our intention is noble and we want results,” he said.