By Raphael Ekpang
The senate committee on sports and youth development in a budget defense on Tuesday frowned at the funds appropriated to the National Sports Commission on capital budget as its said the fund was too small for the commission to complete its ongoing projects.
The chairman, Senate Committee On Sports, Senator Adamu Gumba, representating Bauchi South senatorial district said the funds allotted to capital budget of the commission will not in any way help the commission in achieving it objective by completing its ongoing projects .
“How can these funds appropriated for your capital budget be enough to complete all the projects you have, the amount is too small. Your capital budget is not up to the amount allotted to other agencies for visibility study alone and we are saying sports is the factor that unites Nigerians, it is very shameful,” he said.
Earlier on, the director general of the National Sports Commission, NSC hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye has presented a N5, 546,009,100 budget appropriations for 2014 to the committee thus; overhead cost, N2, 921,800,668; Personnel, 1,196.108, 871; Recurrent- 4,117,909,539, and Capital cost as 1,428,099,561.
However, the senate committee chairman on sports, had earlier commended the new minister of sports and chairman NSC, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo for honouring the invitation of the committee on budget defence, which he said, his predecessors failed to do for the past three years and assured him that the upper chamber of the National Assembly would be willing to work together with him to achieve President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan transformation agenda on sports.
Gumba noted that his moved has convinced the committee that the minister is ready to work with them for the development of sports in the country with emphasis on grass roots sports development.
Gumba also requested to know the brain behind the concessioning of National Stadium in Lagos, the handover of Enugu Stadium to the state government and that of Bauchi state. He also demanded for clarification on the structures erected around Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna which has blocked several route into the arena as against the FIFA best standard where it is advisable that a stadium should have many route in case of unforeseen circumstances.
In responding however, Hon. Elegbeleye explained that the national stadium, Lagos was on a sorry stage because the government has no money to maintain it, and as sports is been driven in government-private partnership, the need to concession it arise, noting that the handover of the Enugu Stadium to state government and yet to be completed handover to the Bauchi state government was in line to that too. He cited the case of Cross River State government that is maintaining it stadium and hosted the Super Eagles for all her nation and world cup qualifying matches.
He explained further that the issue of erecting buildings around the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna is under the commission watch, adding that they have ordered those erecting the buildings to stop until a committee that has been set up to investigate the whole issue is done with it work before any decision would be taken to that effect having in mind the FIFA best standard on stadia.
Meanwhile, the minister of sports and chairman NSC, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo assured the senate committee on sports of his full cooperation to it on his bit to move the nation sports forward better than how he met it.
“My duty here is simple; cooperate with the relevant stakeholders of sports like the senate committee on sports and the house as well as others to ensure that I do not only consolidate on the achievement of my predecessor but to make the sector better than I met it,” he said.