President of FIBA Africa Zone 3, Samuel Ahmedu has backed the recent decision of the Federal Ministry of Sports to dissolve the various boards of the National Sports Federations.
In his opinion, the Federal Ministry of Sports under Barrister Solomon Dalung has the powers to dissolve the National Federations in law and in fact.
He countered the comparison of the Sports Federations with the operations of the Confederation of African Football and general football politics as being argued by some major actors who have so far kicked against the recent decision of the Federal Government.
According to the legal luminary, “The case does not hold because CAF has its own Constitution and Bye Laws duly approved by all its member Countries.
“Same with The Nigeria Football Federation which has its own Constitution (based on the NFF or NFA Act) which grants it autonomy in administration, including conducting its own election in line with its bye laws. In this respect no one can dissolve the NFF like that as that will amount to interference.”
The Proprietor of Dodan Warriors Basketball Programme explained that in the case of the other National Federations, since they are still the creation of the Ministry of Sports, the recent decision is absolutely correct.
“As at date, they are creations of the Ministry of Sports and until an act is passed by the National Assembly granting them autonomy like the NFF, the status quo remains.
He explained that the FIBA had considered these issues regarding many National Federations across the world before, but since most are established through this means, they had to recognize the peculiarities of each country.
Speaking further, Ahmedu wondered why the same federation presidents and board members who benefited from the same election conducted by the Sports Ministry are now kicking against the recent decision after their expiration of office.
“The Federation’s membership cannot approbate and reprobate. They cannot accept the Ministry conducting elections for them when it suits them on one hand and then reject same Ministry on another hand. When the Ministry extended the tenure of Federation Presidents from 2 terms to 3 terms, the Federations accepted it; meaning they recognized the authority of the Ministry.”
The incoming board member of the Nigeria Basketball Federation explained that with so many federations having no nationally or internationally accepted constitutions guiding their operations, it was expedient that a higher body step in as to forestall any arbitrarily drawn document without due approval from their constituents.
“May I also add that, it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience for a Federation President who is contesting to return to his post to be handed the powers to form an Electoral Committee to conduct an election that he or she is an interested party/ candidate. There is the likelihood of bias and this is not acceptable in Law.”
He argued that in cases where a sitting president is also a candidate in his Federation’s election, the Ministry of Sports/ NOC are the neutral bodies to handle the affair.
“Precedents abound to the effect that in the past, all National Federations were dissolved before elections. 1997, 2001, 2009 were typical examples. In 2013 when the Federations were not dissolved, the National Sports Commission, as was then conducted the elections.
The Federations have completed their 4 Year tenure in line with the universally accepted principle arising from the IOC and individual International Federations by laws. May 2013 to May 2017 in my estimation is 4 years.
He finally said “Technically, only the Membership of the Boards were dissolved because the respective Boards are still intact by virtue of the fact that the Secretary General who communicates with its international bodies and other affiliates remains and continues to run the Federation till a new membership in constituted.”
Written by Oni Afolabi