The Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) says the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung’s alleged interference in its internal affairs delayed the members visas to Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The club’s Secretary, Rev. Samuel Ikpea, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that Dalung meddling in a non-governmental organisation’s affairs was unjust.
Ikpea said it was the minister’s interference that was responsible for the club’s delay in securing visa on time for its members for the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“It is also the minister’s unnecessary interference in our club that is causing the delay in our sponsors, Globacom, releasing funds for us for the Olympics.
“I wonder why the minister should dabble into the internal affairs of a body that has contributed to uplifting sports to where it is in the country.
“The NFSC is recognised by the world and continental football governing bodies, FIFA and CAF respectively as the winner of Best Supporters Club of the world award.
“But the crises rocking the club today is caused by Dalung,’’ he alleged.
“The club is guided by a constitution and an MoU but the minister without consultation and for whatever reason is interested in causing disunity in the club,’’ Ikpea said.
Ikpea told NAN on July 20 that the minister should not cause disunity in the over 50-year-old organisation by instigating the impeachment of its Acting Chairman, Vincent Okumagba.
According to the secretary, Okumagba was impeached on July 16 for single-handedly submitting a list of dismissed and unknown members of the club to the minister preparatory to the Olympics.
“Okumagba also claimed that he got the minister’s approval for an office accommodation at the National Stadium, Abuja, to register another supporters’ club.
“If the minister has been following football, he is supposed to know the leaders of the club and not just accept anybody that comes to him without due consultations.
“We have written to the minister on this issue that the leaders of the club want to meet with him, but up till now the minister has yet to respond,’’ he said.
The secretary added that the internal wrangling caused by the minister also led to the arrest of a former member of the club at the Brazilian Embassy in Lagos on Aug. 2.
NAN had reported that the former member, a female, allegedly acting on behalf of impeached Okumagba was arrested for presenting fake documents for visa procurement at the embassy.
According to Ikpea, all these caused the delay in securing visas for members and getting the sponsors to release money on time.
“Having been living in peace for the past 50 years, the minister should not allow somebody with a selfish interest to destroy his reputation,’’ he said.
Ikpea maintained that the supporters club remained the 12th player on the field drumming support for the various national teams against their opponents.
The secretary expressed joy that in spite of the minister’s interference and the internal wrangling, the club had been able to secure visas for its members.
He added that the club had also secured sponsorship from its age long sponsors, Globacom and would soon depart for the Olympics.
However, the Olympic Games which formally started on Aug. 5 will end on Aug. 21