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SPORTS MINISTER WIELDS BIG STICK

By NBF News
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Yusuf Suleiman
There may be light at the end of the tunnel over the crises affecting Nigerian sports and football in particular, as the new Minister of Sports and Chairman National Sports Commission (NSC), Yusuf Suleiman, has sounded a note of warning to the warring factions to toe the line of peace or face stiff sanction from the government.

Suleiman, who sounded the warning in his maiden parley with the sporting media in Abuja yesterday, said that he won't hesitate to wield the big stick against anybody found guilty of fuelling the crises in Nigeria sports.

The minister further argued that as a disciplined and neutral person in the personal and legal crises, he would be at a better advantage to revolve the crises, promising to maintain an absolute neutrality in ensuring that peace is restored.

While disclosing that he has concluded arrangements to dialogue with all the warring factions, the former minister of transport, however, warned that he won't want to be bogged down with the trivialities of managing crises.

'I said it when I resumed in the ministry that I want to address the lingering crises in football administration in Nigeria, which I believe is responsible for the downward trend of the game.

'The people that are supposed to manage the game were busy fighting themselves and until they stop the fight and face the business of promoting and developing the game, we are going to continue to have problems.

What I intend to do is bring them together and make them understand that the nation is suffering,' he noted.

Asked if he has the liver to wield the stick against those fuelling the crises, the minister thundered: 'Let me tell you, I will not just have the courage, but I determined to do whatever it takes to manage football in Nigeria.'

'I have heard many speculations, but one thing about me is that I'm totally independent. I'm just coming into the sports fold and I don't belong to any of the feuding factions. So, I have an advantage to sit down with all the factions and talk to them independently.

'The bottom-line is that so long as I know what I'm looking for, it is easy to mediate. The people have already defined their targets. I believe that if the quarrel is not personal but on different understanding and interpretations for the various way or means of promoting and improving football and sports generally in Nigeria, I think we have to sit down and reconcile. But if they is purely personality clashes where somebody wants to be this or that, then at that point, I have to take a decision to tell the world that we cannot allow personal ego to hamper the sports development in Nigeria,' he warned.