By; Ayo Ojedokun, Lagos.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalong has frowned at the level of preparedness of the various Sports Federations ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Dalong who was on a two day official inspection of sporting facilities in Lagos State, insisted that the federations should have been at the final stage of preparations but with what is on ground, it seems they are not prepared for the Games slated for August this year .
“About a month ago when I resumed office as the Sports Minister, I discovered that all the federations seems not to be ready with their level of preparation which was 40%, and with such percentage they are planning to fail.
“For us not to have a repeat of what happened in London 2012 where we had a very poor outing, I will as matter of urgency mobilize all the federations to give us update in their preparation.”
The minister, who during the inspection expressed sadness at the state of most of the facilities, gave the contractor handling the renovation of the swimming pool to complete the job before the end of the first quarter of this year.
“It is very embarrassing to see the condition of the facilities, most of them have been abandoned for many years and as for the renovation going on at the swimming pool, the contractor has been given till the end of the first quarter of this year to complete the project” he stressed.
He identified part of the reason for the abandonment of many sports facilities to the short tenure of previous ministers; saying that it does not allow for proper articulation and implementation of decisions.
“I believe that part of the reason why we have poor facilities at the Stadium is because previous Sports Ministers did not stay long in office. The longest time a Sports Minister has stayed in office is one year and some months. And this did not help in articulating and developing new policy guide lines”, He stated.
Dalong while promising that he is going to take some radical decisions that will bring positive changes noted that the era when people divert funds for their personal use is over, even as he appealed to corporate organizations to invest in sports development.
“I want to assure Nigerians that my tenure will bring a lot of positive changes and we are not going to allow things to continue the way it is, especially in the area of facility maintenance.
“We are also going to intensify efforts in convincing corporate organizations to be involved in sports because they have a lot to benefit “, he concluded.