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CSED, Netball Stakeholders Indict Sport Ministry Over Newly Registered NFF

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) –Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative and members of the Naija Netball Stakeholders have indicted the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for its role in the newly registered Nigeria Netball Federation (NNF).

In a statement made available to the media, over the weekend, the group faulted the registration of the NFF which was facilitated by its President, Dr. Henry Nzekwu and General Secretary, Dr.  Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko.

Describing the action of President and General Secretary of NNF, as an illegal action that violates the principle of justice and fair play, they said  their action is tantamount to that of interlopers.

“These two persons have been imposed on the netball stakeholders by the top hierarchy of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, who failed Nigerians in conducting their developmental and supervisory role in respect of netball, in the past one decade.

“Now that they have seen the gradual progress of ‘Project 2027’ a programme of the CSED Initiative that is aimed at making one million Nigerian school girls to be aware of netball, they are now trying to be a clog in the wheel of progress”, the group said.

The netball stakeholders also expressed their disappointment with the way some friends and associates of principal officers of the Youth and Sports Ministry and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) have been allowed to hijack the development of grassroots sports in the country, to the detriment of the Nigerian athletes and taxpayers.

 “We the stakeholders sent a petition letter to the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports on 26th January 2023, complaining about the illegality that has being perpetuated in Nigeria netball in the past one decade. Instead of investigating our allegation, the next thing we know is that Dr.  Henry Nzekwu who is a bosom friend of Mr. Sunday Dare (the current Minister of Youth and Sports), is now the President of the Nigeria Netball Federation”, they added.

The group further stated that they see the recent move by Dr. Aluko and her backers as a desperate attempt to further their personal interest of being relevant in the sport sector in Nigeria, since they not have any major contribution they have made to the development of grassroots sports in Nigeria, apart from relying on the goodwill of their warped principals.

A Trustee of CSED Initiative and sport for change activist, Cornelius Ehimiaghe said more worrying is the fact that Dr. Aluko who since October 2021 fooled Nigerians to believe that she is the General Secretary of an unregistered NNF, is now calling the shot at the NNF.

“This is the same Dr Aluko who contested for the post of General Secretary of the NOC in December 2022, as a representative of Handball Federation of Nigeria (HNF). This is the same Dr. Aluko who lied to Nigerians that basketball stunted the growth and development of netball in Nigeria.

“But in December 2022, she used mercenaries from other sports to demonstrate netball at the NSF in Asaba. This is the same Dr Aluko who lied during a television interview on 2 April 2022, by misleading sports journalists to believe that Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria (AFFA) built the first netball court in Nigeria”, he further disclosed.

Mr. Ehimiaghe noted that if netball was that important to Dr. Aluko, what did she do to develop netball as a civil servant; where she spent more than 30 years and rose to the position of Director, before she retired from service a few years ago?

“Funny enough, I was the person who brought the problem in netball to her, as the president of AFFAN. I did so in 2019. If I am lying, you can ask her to confirm or deny this

“As for Dr. Nzekwu, the current Sports Minister has given him roles to play in the past in football and basketball. Though we do not know if the current minister is behind Dr. Nzekwu current elevation to the position of President of NNF, we the Naija Netball Stakeholders are not going to accept this. He is not the only competent sports administrator in Nigeria”, he further stated.

He also pointed out that though Dr. Aluko and Dr Henry Nzekwu are highly connected to the authorities in the Sports Ministry/NOC because they are former staff, there is however, no guarantee that they are going to remain in their current position.

“This is because CSED Initiative and Naija Netball Stakeholders are currently in the process of consulting with their members and solicitors with a view of taking this matter to Court. You cannot build something on nothing.

“It is an open secret that even with their access to public funds, the Ministry of Sports and the NOC have not trained one Netball Africa certified Coach. More laughable is Dr. Aluko’s recent claim that the target of the NNF is to participate in the 2024 All Africa Games in Accra”, he stressed.

He said since nobody seem to care about the development of netball in Nigeria, CSED Initiative took the bull by the horn and in February 2020 and built the first netball court in Nigeria at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Edo State, adding that in March 2020, CSED Initiative went further by training 24 Nigerians to be certified as Netball Africa Coaches.

“The first time this has happened in the history of Nigeria. Till date, CSED Initiative has trained an additional 216 Nigerian Physical Education (P.E.) Teachers/youths to become Netball Coaches. These training were conducted in Utoka (Edo State), Mosogar (Delta State), Uyo (Akwa Ibom State), Enugu (Enugu State). Yenogoa (Bayelsa State) and Jalingo (Taraba State)”, he further explained.

Mr. Ehimiaghe observed that the CSED Initiative does not only train teachers in netball, but they have also embedded safeguarding in their training of these coaches. He also lamented that the NOC/Sports Ministry in Nigeria do not even have a safeguarding protocol, let alone implementing one for Nigerian athletes.

When contacted to respond the issues raised by the group, Dr. Aluko said the NFF  president has extended a hand of fellowship to the CSED Initiative, which according to her, they’ve rejected. 

“Let them go to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to confirm the legality of the registration of NFF”, she added. 

She however noted that the NFF president is the only one who can grant  media audience and issue press statement when necessary.  

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=86530

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