*All Africa Gamesâ€™ future on AU agenda
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Federal Government has graciously offered to bankroll the completion of the headquarters of Association of National Olympic Committees for Africa (ANOCA) in Abuja.
While declaring open the 52nd Executive Committee/Ordinary Session yesterday, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, said that Nigeria was prepared to spend additional N314 million ($872,277) to complete the headquarters project.
The proposed cost is different from the N50 million ($138,888) earlier released by government to fast track the completion of the complex.
Dalung’s speech was delivered at the session by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Abdul Razak Salau.
The minister said with the financial guarantees by government, the ANOCA office would be commissioned in due course.
He also offered government readiness to collaborate with the continental body in its mission to uplift sports in Africa.
The meeting in Abuja scheduled to end on Thursday is the inaugural meeting of the board since the members were elected in Djibouti in May.
ANOCA President, Gen. Lassana Palenfo, thanked the Nigerian government for building the headquarters for sports in Africa in Abuja.
The executive committee has scheduled a working visit to the headquarters construction site today.
Palenfo also lamented that hosting the flagship All Africa Games was becoming expensive and difficult for African nations.
He said ANOCA was negotiating with the African Union (AU) and would table the matter at a meeting in Addis Ababa on August 17-18.
The army general similarly echoed doubts about the ability of Africa hosting the Olympic Games in the futute given the cost of staging the biennial and multi-sport events.
“I must confess you need money and infrastructure to host Olympics. Are you ready to hold it in Nigeria? You need communication, stadiums, security and so on. It is not easy; you must be a realist,” Palenfo counseled.
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Gumel, said the meeting would discuss the development of sports and the African strategy for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where it hopes to improve on its medal haul at both London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Other matters on the agenda include, consideration of ANOCA Constitution and proposals for amendments, updates on the 3rd African Youth Games, proposals on setting up of ANOCA legal and ethics commissions and discussions on maiden African Beach Games.