General News of Saturday, 14 February 2015
“If you can sit on radio and insult President Mahama and tell him that he is wrong on some issues, we should also be able to look you in the face, on radio, and also tell you that you are also wrong,” Sports Minister Mahama Ayariga has said.
“Why can President Mahama be insulted and you cannot be told in your face what you’re doing that is wrong or that is right?” he wondered in an interview with Muntie FM.
Mr Ayariga’s comments follow an unbridled avalanche of flak unfurled at him by Journalists and media-friendly organisations following his outburst at journalists by describing as “useless questions”, certain enquiries made of him by hosts of morning shows in various radio interviews, concerning Ghana’s budget for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations that recently ended in Equatorial Guinea.
Mr Ayariga launched the blistering attack on Ghanaian Journalists Thursday while being interviewed on live radio.
Responding to a question from Adom FM morning show host Captain Smart about the budget, an infuriated Ayariga riposted: “It is very unfortunate that you choose that this is what you will discuss. I thought that at this stage, those who are interested in sports in Ghana would now be asking me questions about how to sustain excellence in sports in Ghana, how are you going to get infrastructure for the development of sports in Ghana, how are you going to manage these players so that the next tournament they will be able to perform exceedingly well and take the cup, how are you going to make sure that all other national teams do so well? Sadly you are asking me about…the money that was spent on food.”
“You are using valuable time to discuss useless matters, please, I think that this is very very regrettable and it will dampen the spirit of the boys who were trying to kill themselves only to come back and even the food that they ate, they will hear on radio that their minister is [answering questions] about the food that they ate. It’s sad it’s sad it’s sad,” he blurted.
He said: “If I decide to grant you an interview as a minister, I expect you to ask me useful questions…you want to take over the job of the Auditor? Are you the Auditor?”
Mr Ayariga Wednesday told Parliament that Ghana spent about $6 million on the tournament.
He said Government spent $4.774, 519.19 million dollars and Ghc3.242,580 million Ghana cedis which add up to $5.8 million.
The former Information Minister made this known on the floor of Parliament Wednesday, after he was authorised by the Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho to present a statement on the participation of the senior national football team in the tournament.
Ayariga explained that part of the amount went into the team’s camping in Spain as well as bonus payments.
The Sports Minister told the House that the government spent $932,740 and 3,243,580 Ghana cedis on the pre-tournament camping for the Black Stars.
For the three-week tournament 608,640 dollars was used for boarding, lodging and others for players and officials.
Ayariga also explained that 3.224, 139.20 dollars was spent on bonuses and honoraria for players, technical team and officials of the national team.
After presenting the breakdown to Parliament, numerous radio stations have been calling the Minister to seek clarifications on the figures but Mr Ayariga has met such calls with abrasion and aggression.