Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has called for the resignation of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, over his reported involvement in the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) saga.
Clark, who made this call in a three-page statement issued in Abuja on Thursday said if Dalung fails to resign, President Muhammadu Buhari should not hesitate to sack him from his cabinet.
His words: “I must maintain that, in the overall interest of the future of football, and indeed, sports generally, and for Nigeria to maintain its enviable position in Africa, and as we gradually make global impact in the game, it’s no longer a matter of discretion that, the Ministry of Sport is not a place for the likes of Mr. Solomon Dalung, as Minister.”
According to him, “I have followed with concern and keen interest, the unfolding developments at the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), and have had cause to speak my strong comment on the unfortunate controversy rocking the Glass House, where I strongly advise that Mr. Solomon Dalung, current Minister of Sports, has no place in this Ministry, if Nigerian football must attain it’s expected height.”
Clark, a former Minister of Information, accused the Sport Minister of “unfortunate foray into ethnic frolic, total disrespect and disloyalty in his open show of crass ignorance and incompetence, when Mr. Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, then as acting President, took the patriotic step to honour and recognice the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF, an action which saved Nigeria from international soccer embarrassment.”
The Minister, he further said, also challenged the legality of the NFF Congress that took in Katsina yesterday, “as he has now committed greater atrocity by challenging the legality and appropriateness of the NFF Congress being held in Katsina, as scheduled”.
Pondering over the question of whose interest the Sport Minister is serving, Clark emphasised that Dalung was obviously not serving the interest of government and the Nigerian people, as he never showed any concern whether Nigeria was banned by FIFA or not, “as he does not recognise FIFA, in the first place, except his own parochial interest, one Mr. Chris Giwa, his kinsman, he is fighting tooth and nail surreptitiously to restore to Glass House, in defiance of a federal government directive to Department of State Services (DSS), to flush him and his remnants from the Glass House, Headquarters of the NFF and in disobedience to FIFA’s ban for a period of five years”.
The elder statesman added that, “It is unfortunate that Mr. Dalung has come to personify the disagreement within the NFF, where he has wrongly misinterpreted the Supreme Court according to his whims and caprices.
“I repeat that, the Supreme Court did not give any definite judgment in favour of anybody, and therefore, very improper of the Minister to drag in the Supreme Court in his offensive statement. It must be reiterated, as I have always emphasised that, the unity of Nigeria is very paramount, and football is one of the contributory factors to this endeavour.”
The Sports Minister who as the supervisory authority on sports matters in the country had been involved in all past NFF Congresses, was conspicuously absent at the venue of the election in Katsina yesterday.
Two days before yesterday’s polls in Katsina, Dalung granted press interview where he claimed ignorance of any Elective Congress anywhere.
He was also reported to have written the Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari not to allow the NFF hold any election in the state, claiming to have a Supreme Court ruling in favour of Chris Giwa.