The humungous haul of medals recorded at the 21st National Sports Festival (NSF) hosted last year in Asaba, the state capital, by Delta State, South-South Nigeria, may have generated enough angst to warrant the setting up of a probe panel by the Federal Government.
The Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development (FMSYD) set up a five-member “independent committee” to review the final medals table of the 21st NSF, also known as Delta 2022.
It would be recalled that hosts Delta were declared winners of the 21st NSF on December 10, 2022, with 320 gold, 200 silver and 128 bronze medals.
Analysts had viewed that total haul of 648 medals as unprecedented and very well far ahead of that of second-placed Bayelsa State.
While Bayelsa recorded 132 gold, 115 silver and 90 bronze medals for a total of 337, yet another South-South state and 2020 NSF runners-up Edo had 78 gold, 94 silver and 167 bronze medals for a total of 339.
Even though the final medals may have reportedly raised several eyebrows, mum mostly had been the word amongst participants.
Sportswatchers are hopeful that the FMSYD’s independent committee will succeed in facilitating final closure on the matter to the satisfaction of the majority of stakeholders, even if not all.
In a statement Sunday, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Ismaila Abubakar disclosed that the committee has seven days to complete its assignment.
Abubakar stated: “The FMSYD has received complaints about the final medals table of the 21st NSF held in Asaba from November 28 to December 10.
“After an initial review was done, the Ministry has decided to take a further step of setting up an independent committee to immediately do a further review.
“This process is normal in situations such as this in order to ascertain whatever the challenges were with the Festival Medals Table computation.
“It is also normal to have them resolved even after the festival.”
The Permanent Secretary explained that the committee was made up of experts who had managed the technical arm of previous NSFs.
“They are: Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, Madaki Elias Gora, Brigadier-General Emmanuel Okaro, who will serve as Chairman, and Lekan Alabi, the Ministry’s Statistician, who will be the Committee Secretary.
“They will be joined by a representative of the Delta State Sports Commission,” he said.
The committee, according to him, was expected to, among other things, determine what went wrong with the medals table computation from the standpoint of knowledge and experience of previous festivals.
“It is also to establish the exact and correct medals table by ridding the table of any double entry and inaccuracies and make recommendations to guide against future occurrence,” Abubakar noted.
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