Anambra Government may have to pay a fine of N5 million to the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development if the indications that the state will not participate in this year’s National Youth Games (NYG) are true.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NYG is scheduled to hold in September in Ilorin.
A Correspondent of NAN reports that at the moment, there are no signs of preparedness by the state’s athletes as activities at the former Anambra Ministry of Sports are at low ebb.
A visit to the Awka township stadium shows that the facility is still under lock and key sine it was shut down over a month ago.
Meanwhile, the South-East zonal eliminations for the Games are billed to start on Aug. 23 in Enugu.
It will be recalled that the sports ministry in the state was scrapped in April this year, while the proposed Sports Commission has yet to take-off.
A source told NAN that Tony Oli, the Chairman of the proposed commission had told the officials that Anambra would not take part as he was not ready to present a ill-prepared team.
The source said the implication was that Anambra sports would degenerate as a generation of future stars would miss the opportunity of being discovered.
It said the very good ones would be lost to other states.
Some directors in the former ministry of sports declined comment on the possibility of Anambra participating in the Games or its programmes.
They said the picture was not clear and that they would not want to be quoted.
“Don’t ask me, I don’t know, look for the chairman,” one of them told NAN.
Cyprian Amuzie,a veteran sports administrator in Anambra, said it was unfortunate that sports have taken a steady downward turn in the state.
Amuzie, who retired as an Acting Permanent Secretary in the defunct Ministry of Youths and Sports, wondered if the state’s likely absence was due to paucity of funds or lack of organisation.
“What is their problem; money or what? It is sad that Anambra which went for competitions every other week in the past will be missing a big event like the National Youth Games.
“We were second in the School Sports at a time but now the whole thing has come to a halt, some of us were not consulted in what is going on in sports in the state.
“Those in charge should know that sports is a practical thing, it is not like other places where people go for their pockets, I know how we laboured to build it, they should not kill sports,” he said.
Also, Arthur Ebunam, Chairman of Old Rangers International Players Association, Anambra Chapter, said it would amount to failure of Gov. Willie Obiano if the state failed to participate.
Ebunam, an ex-Rangers International FC player, said there was no way sports could move forward in Anambra under a sports Commission that had no organisational structure.
He regretted the scrapping of the sports ministry, saying it was one of the surest ways of developing and empowering youths.
“It will simply mean that the governor has failed in sports; how and why will they not attend? It is confirming our fear that those in charge of sports have no idea of what they are into.
“How can the sports commission work when there is no board, no major official, no permanent secretary, no line of authority and no operational office? Moreover, it has yet to have the backing of the law.
“The athletes must be given the opportunity to go for competitions, unfortunately they have nowhere to train, what is really going on?”
Efforts by NAN to speak with Oli, chairman of the proposed commission failed as he did not answer his calls or replied messages sent to him.