Senate has rejected the minister of sports and youth development, Sunday Dare’s purported appointment of his kinsman as Leadership Centre director-general, saying the minister had previously removed two agency heads and replaced them with his relatives.
The Senate Committee on Sports and Youth Development on Thursday accused Dare of tribalism and nepotism, for appointing his kinsman, one Mr Soji Eniade as the director general of the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre (CLTC), a parastatal in the Presidency but under the supervision of the ministry.
The committee said it was unfair for the minister to appoint his kinsman as the director general of the Training Centre when the acting director-general, Oluremi Sola-Phillips, who hails from Lagos State has been doing well as the head of the centre.
The committee also accused the sports minister of previously removing two heads of agencies under the ministry, including that of the National Sports Institute, and replacing them with people from his state, Oyo State, who are also said to be related to him.
The incident happened on Thursday when the management of CLTC went to the senate to defend the 2022 budget proposal.
When it was the turn of the Centre to defend its budget, the committee had called for the director general to begin the budget defence. But instead of the acting director general Mr Oluremi Sola-Phillips getting up, Mr Soji Eniade stood up and introduced himself as the director general.
The committee expressed surprise because he was a stranger in their midst. He then told the committee that he was appointed to the position ‘two days ago,’ adding that though he was the director general, the budget would be defended by the acting director general.
This submission led to a question and answer session. In the process, Eniade told the committee that the minister appointed him as the Centre’s DG and that the appointment came from the president.
Following further questions, Eniade said that he was from Oyo State which raised the curiosity of the senators.
The chairman of the Senate Committee, Sen. Obinna Ogba from Ebonyi State recalled that the minister, Dare, had previously eased out two heads of parastatals under the ministry and replaced them with people from his home state of Oyo, including that of the National Sports Institute.
Ogba said it was wrong and abuse of office for the minister to attempt bypassing the acting director general of CLTC who is from Lagos State and to replace him with his kinsman from Oyo State.
Ogba, supported by Sen. Isa Jubrin from Kogi State and Sen. Cleopas Moses Zuwoghe from Bayelsa State said the Committee cannot recognise Soji Eniade as director general of CLTC because the ministry does not belong to Sunday Dare or his home state, adding that it was such actions from ministers like Dare that make people attribute their nepotism to President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration.
At that point, Eniade said he actually attended the budget defence to observe the proceedings which made the committee walk him out and asked him to go to the place reserved for observers as they cannot recognise him as the centre’s director general.