Minister of Youths and Sports, Barr Solomon Dalung, on Monday launched the Elite Athlete Development Grant with his one month salary.
He says the gesture will end leadership tussles in sport federations, insecurity and other vices as government funding has been the cause of leadership crisis in federations.
“If sports are funded by the public through Non- Governmental organisations (NGOs), few people will be interested in the boards.
“I am happy to launch this fund with my one month salary because it marks beginning of solution to sports crisis in the country.
“It is a right step towards joining other nations that do well in sports through public funding, I urge sports loving individuals and organisations to donate and support the fund.
” If sports are financed through funds like this, sports will develop faster, federations will be more transparent and accountable while leadership will be interesting to genuine sports administrators alone.
“Therefore, I thank NSDFI for leading the revolution to stop controversies in sports federations,” he said.
However, Dalung reminded management of NSDFI of the importance of transparency and accountability in handling such fund.
Earlier, Olajide Fashikun, Director-General, NSDFI, called for government support so that the organisation could adequately play its role.
Also speaking at the event, Mary Onyali, a five-time Olympian and Executive Director, NSDFI, said the urge to ensure that upcoming athletes developed under conducive condition prompted her to be part of the initiative.
“We have tried it before in 1994 and that helped me to hit the podium during 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, U.S.
“I want Nigeria to be having at least six or more Mary Onyalis at every point in time,” she said.
It is understood that each of selected 90 athletes from Taekwondo, Athletics, Wrestling, Shooting and Para-sports federations will be given N10 million grants between now and end of November.