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Opinions of Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Columnist: ghanasoccernet.com

Good job Nii Lante for exposing his own ruling party over Black Stars matches

Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye

As I read through a report by the Ghana Sports Newspaper over a document it claims to have chanced upon at the Ministry of Youth and Sports pertaining to the government spending over $700,000 in the payment of bribes to ensure Ghana qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, I felt a pinch of pain in my head and a sharp burning sensation in my heart and quickly retorted, Nii Lante ‘The Wise Man’ is exposing his own party in this crucial election period.

I pondered over the publication and started counting the number of ministers who had occupied the office before Nii Lante, yet no such document was seen.

I could remember Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Mahama Ayariga and Dr. Mustapha Ahmed as those who had held the office before Nii Lante Vanderpuye. Yet, no such document was seen or ever heard of.

I then heaved heavily and said, the ‘Wise Man’ is in the driving seat now.

Yes, Nii Lante is more patriotic and will expose his own party members and bring his party down with his continuous rants against football.

Well, maybe Elvis Afriyie Akrah, now a Minister of State at the Presidency, will be able to respond to the claims in the report since it was during his regime that such reported payments were made.

Even though I am not a party politician, I sensed the danger the publication poses for the NDC government and football administration in the country in particular.

A few months ago, the Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye said, and continues to say that government spends $1m on every single Black Stars match.

This was re-echoed by the deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Vincent Oppong Asamoah on the sidelines of the launch of the Millennium Marathon in Accra in an interview with the Graphic Sports.

Now with this damaging revelation it demonstrates that Nii Lante is damaging his own ruling NDC party with the elections looming; just four months to the polls.

Again, I am tempted to believe that per these leaks, Nii Lante is satisfying his personal ambition of destroying the GFA and does not care even if his party is negatively affected or the country is badly branded globally.

If indeed those claims by the Sports Minister and his deputy are true, then it means that Ghana will spend $6m on the 2017 Afcon qualifiers by the time we play our last game against Rwanda.

The question I have been asking myself over and over again is that, what does the Minister stands to gain by telling Ghanaians that the government cares about football more than the lives of the average people who live in villages without good drinking water, electricity and proper health care.

Is the Minister and his deputy telling us that the government loves football more than the welfare of Ghanaians?

Assuming without admitting that the government spends that much on the Black Stars alone, must the Minister and his deputy infuriate Ghanaians who are currently facing ‘dumsor’ challenges that their government will rather spend $6m on six Black Stars matches instead of securing their welfare?

Isn’t the Minister unconsciously inviting disaffection for the government and for that matter the NDC party?

As I was pondering over these issues, then a bigger issue crops up with reports that a document from the Sports Ministry claims the government paid bribes over $700,000 to aid the Black Stars secure qualification to the 2014 World Cup.

Goodness me!

Leaked documents from the Ministry?

How did the documents leak and who leaked them?

I remember about a month ago, I wrote an article on a private correspondence that had been released to the media by the ministry on the Local Black Stars friendly match with Japan.

I questioned why a private document must be given to the public and whether Ghanaians could entrust the Sports Ministry into the hands of Nii Lante and his deputy.

I think the answer is coming swiftly more than I needed.

Earlier it was a private letter sent to the GFA President that was released and now a leaked document from the same office that released the private letter to the GFA Boss.

I ask again, must we entrust our sports in the hands of Nii lante and his deputy?

There is only one thing I think will save this current government’s face and that of the Ministry of Youth and Sports on this alleged leaked documents.

If and only if the Ministry of Youth and Sports has not leaked any document to the said newspaper, then the Ministry must sue the newspaper to save its image and convince Ghanaians that it is capable of watching over our sports.

If that is not done, then the Ministry has alluded to the fact that the report is true and the repercussions must be borne by the NDC government.

Now, what is the import of the leaked documents on the image and credibility of the previous Ministers of Youth and Sports?

As I quizzed earlier, Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Hon. Mahama Ayariga and Dr. Mustapha Ahmed had all occupied the office before Nii Lante Vanderpuye. So what is this leaked document saying about them?

Is the Nii Lante-led Sports Ministry telling us that the entire three previous ministers before him were corrupt and unpatriotic such that they held on to those documents without leaking them?

Is the Nii Lante-led Sports Ministry telling Ghanaians that he, Nii Lante, is more competent than the three ministers mentioned earlier?

Is the Nii Lante-led Sports Ministry telling Ghanaians that the Elvis Afriyie Ankrah-led Sports Ministry, under which the said $700,000 bribe is alleged to have been paid, was corrupt and irresponsible?

How at all has the alleged leaked document survived the test of time under Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Mahama Ayariga and Dr. Mustapha Ahmed without leaking?

What does this leakage say about the three previous ministers?