Mr Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Youth and Sports on Friday in Abuja inaugurated the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Women in Sport Commission to address low women representation in sports administration.
At the inauguration, Dalung, who was represented by Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, Director, Federations and Elite Athletes in the ministry, said female athletes had won more medals for the nation in the history of sports in Nigeria.
He added that “women are major stakeholders in sports and a good number of them now occupy important positions. This has empowered them to support female involvement and participation in sports both technically and administratively.
“But this is not enough as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) objective for NOCs, international and national federation affiliated to the Olympic Movement stipulates 25 per cent decision making positions for women.
“The Olympic Charter states that one of the roles of the IOC is to encourage and support the promotion of women in sports at all levels.”
This, the minister said, was to implement the principle of equality between men and women in sports administration.
He noted that “this commitment extends beyond concerted efforts to increase women’s participation in the Olympic Games to ensuring equity in the involvement of women in the general administration of sports.
“Gender equality is considered a critical component for effective and inclusive sports for the promotion of women and girls in sports at all levels.”
Earlier, the NOC President, Habu Gumel, had said that the occasion marked another landmark in the Olympics Movement in Nigeria.
He said “we are privileged to set in place one of the vital pillars of the Olympic Movement, the NOC Women Commission.”
Gumel said that for decades, the IOC had been keen on issues relating to women in sports worldwide.
“The IOC being desirous of ensuring the graduation of women involvement in sports, set criteria for NOCs on minimal requirement for women participation in sports as athletes and administrators is not optional but mandated, he said.
He expressed optimism that with the Commission’s individual and collective efforts, it would have all that was required to affect women positively in Nigeria.
“The NOC has a lot of confidence in members of the Commission and the members are capable of the challenges ahead.
“I urged you to cooperate with the chairperson in the collective task of moving sports forward in the country.”
Mary Onyali, the Chairperson of the Commission said she was encouraged by the calibre of women in the commission and with the support of the NOC she hoped to deliver on its mandate.
She described the women in the commission as “women of notable character,” adding that she hoped they would bring it to bear in the commission.
Onyali thanked the NOC for the confidence reposed in them and promised to work in harmony to move sports forward.