Exclusive: Sports Commission Too Broke To Attend Public Service Games

By Samuel Malik, Abuja

The National Sports Commission, NSC, the umbrella body for all games in the country, cannot participate in the 2014 Federation of Public Service Games, FEPSGA, because it is broke. This is in spite of the appropriation of about N2.4billion for sporting activities in its 2014 budget.

With less than two weeks to the public service games, preparations are in top gear and the National Stadium is a beehive of activities as ministries and other parastatals put finishing touches to their training.

However, despite being only a stone throw from the offices of the Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo, and Director General of the NSC, Gbenga Elegbeleye, no athletes from the commission were seen training at the stadium complex and it was gathered that there are no plans by it to participate.

The reason given by a source in the commission, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, is that “there is no money for such a thing”.

When our reporter visited the minister’s office to ask questions, his aides claimed ignorance of the sporting event.

Our reporter spoke with the sports minister’s media aide, Patrick Omorodion, who said he was not aware that the commission’s athletes were not in camp. He said that the NSC DG’s office would better able to speak on the issue. However, as the DG travelled on official assignment, he directed the reporter to Bolaji Ojo-Oba, Director of Federation and Elite Athletes Development, who deputises for the DG whenever he is not around.

Ojo-Oba, who is due to retire in 2015, denied knowledge of the matter and directed our reporter to another person. “I am not in charge of that. You should get in touch with Are (Ademola Are), who is the chairman of NSC Sport Club. He should know better,” he said.

Are could not be reached as calls made to his mobile phone did not go through.

The president of FEPSGA, Hassan Dahiru, said he was not aware that the commission was not participating in the games and added that he had no problem if it had opted out as they would not force anybody to participate.

“We cannot force them (to participate), as long as they pay their fees (and) I do not know if they have paid. I have to check my records.”



    Having budgeted over N2.4 billion naira (N2, 418, 069, 776) out of its 2014 budget of N5, 546, 009, 100 for sporting activities, it would be recalled that the NSC has been involved in just three major sporting events this year – the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014), African Youth Games (Gaborone 2014) and Africa Athletics Championship (Marrakech 2014).

    Despite these international events, a top official of the commission, who did not want to be mentioned, said it could not be true that it had no money.

    “How can they say they have no money? The events you mentioned, how much did they spend? Do not forget FEPSGA is not an impromptu event. It comes up yearly and they would have had it in mind when making this year’s budget. So, the excuse that there is no money is not tenable,” the source said.

    FEPSGA is an annual sporting event involving all federal government establishments and this year’s competition, the 33rd edition, tentatively slated for November 28, will be hosted by Ondo state and will last two weeks.

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