The Minister of Sports Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has issued a statement denying media reports that “President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to head a committee to reposition Nigerian sports and ‘return its lost glory.’”
Abdullahi in a statement today by Julius Ogunro, his media aide said “We wish to state that there is no truth in that report and it is a clear misrepresentation of the comments and directives of Mr. President.”
Ogunro’s press then proceeded to clarify how an adhoc committee was actually set up by the president even before Jonathan’s visit to the national stadium.According to Ogunro “ The Honorable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi at the Federal Executive Council Meeting of September 5th, 2012, made a presentation on the performance of Team Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympics, and outlined strategies for greater performance in the future. One of the highlights of that presentation was that we now lack decent pitches where our footballers can have quality training.”
He added that“The Honourable Minister especially lamented about the deplorable state of the National Stadium in Abuja and the inadequacy of sports infrastructure across the country. It was then that Mr. President directed that an ad-hoc committee, made up of the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi; CME and Minister of Finance, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed; Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, and the Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Dr. Patrick Ekeji be set up to come up with strategies on the renovation and management of the National Stadium in Abuja.
“Later that evening, at his visit to the Super Eagles who were training at the National Stadium, Abuja, the issue of poor infrastructure came up again, and Mr. President reiterated his earlier directive. It is obvious that it is this directive by Mr. President that was misreported by a section of the press as a ‘committee to reform Nigerian sports.’”