Ever since he was appointed as the Minister of Youth and Sports, after the disgraceful exit of Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who was sacked when he led the Black Stars to an early exit in Brazil, Mahama Ayariga, has visited virtually every sports facility we have in the country.
I am not for a moment saying that the visits are not good, but it is the promises that the Minister makes anywhere he goes that is worrying.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports, is not an income generating Ministry of the Government. The Ministry relies heavily on the consolidated fund to run the activities of the Ministry, so it behoves every conscience to ask where the Minister intends to get money to execute all the works that he is promising.
Every year, the Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper goes before Parliament and present the financial statement of the government for the year, the question that begs asking is that, does all the promises that the Minister is making in the budget presented to Parliament and does it also reflect the allocation made to the Ministry for this financial year?
The President, John Dramani Mahama, have also in fulfilling the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto, Is also engaged in making promises, which is next to impossible to achieve considering the number of years left until the next election.
You can pardon the President, who has earned a new name for himself, ‘Boshe ba”, because of his many promises he has made to Ghanaians and keeps making. He has a duty of care to the people of Ghana who voted for him to lead them. He must make promises to assure them that he has not forgotten the confidence reposed in him and the honour done him and that he will meet all his obligations to them.
The President, has the resources of the country at his disposal, that is why he can order, direct and instruct the Finance Minister to release funds anytime, even when those funds are not budget for, how about the Sports Minister?
The Sports Minister works at the behest of the President, he cannot on his own decide on how to spend the money made available to the Ministry, and so all his promises must be in sync with the overall vision and objective of the President and government.
I doubt if the Sports Minister, has consulted the Minister of Finance, whether there is money to fulfill his overzealous and often unnecessary promises. Statutory payments are in arrears, it took both the intervention of the President and a citizen who took the government to Court, before some quarter payments were made, and yet the Sports Minister is oblivious of all these.
It is good to promise, but those promises must be situated within the broad policy framework of the government, not every Minister, who thinks he has something to say to please the people, must make promises, he very well know is out of his reach.
I must commend the Minister, for taking time to visit most of our sports facilities, some of which have been abandoned for years now, he must first of all assess the problems, with the view not to repeat the mistakes of the past but not to say he will correct them.
We have the Justice Dzamefe Commission, looking into the abysmal performance of the Senior National team and the way and manner State money was dissipated by officials at the just ended FIFA Mundial in Brazil; it will be wise for the Minister to wait until after the recommendations of the Commission, before we can think of pumping any money to revive or improve any sports facility under the Ministry.
The former Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, made some promises which are yet to see the light of day, among the promises was the one he made to our old and former sportsmen, who sacrificed their time and energies for this country, without anything to show for it, they got nothing, it was their love for country that has rendered them poor.
These men really lived by the saying that asked not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
The least the nation can do to them is not to make empty promises to them, but rather take care of them in their old age, so that when they are no more their children and children’s children, will also have in them the spirit and sense of patriotism. If we must lie, must it be these old men, whose crime is that they put their nation ahead of their interest.
They should be reminded that the country is grateful to them for their sacrifice. If Mahama Ayariga wants to leave a legacy, this project is what he should pursue, instead of the cheap popularity and photo section with owners of sports facilities, who are in to make profit, why should we even contemplate to want to use government money to improve their structures.
The Minister did something that deserves commendation and that is his tour has exposed our lack of culture of maintenance, many of the state sports facilities, have been left to rot, it explains why sports in this country have declined, even the inter schools competitions that used to be competitive is no longer fashionable and students hardly look forward to it.
Sports has been reduced to only the activities of the Black Stars and many officials see it as an opportunity and avenue to make money, the Minister should instead after his tour hold a stakeholder meeting, so that a comprehensive plan and programme can be developed and tabled to
cabinet for consideration. This one man show will not help Ghana sports, that is what his predecessor did with regard to the World Cup.
I only hope he finds the money to fulfill all his promises, if not very soon people will start making reference to it. Ghanaians have a short memory, but not to things that are of mischief value.