By Amaechi Agbo
The ministry of youth and sports development has advised acting president of Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Olamide George to see his position as a call to service and not an opportunity to build personal empire.
The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development made this clarification when the newly Acting President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Hon. Olamide George and other Board members of Executive Committee of AFN visited the Minister of Youths and Sports Development in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry Mr. Adesola Olusade, gave the advice when the new acting president paid a courtesy visit to the ministry Wednesday.
Mr. Olusade who stood in for the Honourable minister, Sunday Dare being the president of any Federation in the sports sector is a call to national service and not a position any one occupies to build an empire for himself.
The representative of the Minister, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Adesola Olusade, speaking further, said the Committee needs to review all obnoxious clauses that reserves exclusive powers on an individual like the President to unilaterally convene meetings without recourse to Board members. He advised that wisdom should be applied to ‘’review and improve on the prevailing constitution of the AFN, adding, National interest and determination to assist Coaches and Athletics to attain podium performances at competitions should be uppermost in their activities.
The Permanent Secretary admonished members to put on their thinking cap that government alone cannot fund sports, stressing, the minister, Mr Sunday Dare is presently exploiting on the rebirth and review of initiatives – Adopt An Athlete; Adopt A Pitch – all in a bid to repackage the age long system of collaboration with philanthropists, who will take up the bills of these Athletes with the Ministry playing the supervisory role between the Athletes, Coaches and the Donors.
Continuing, the Permanent Secretary seized the opportunity to enjoin the members to put the welfare of Athletes on the fore while assuring the Acting President and his team of the Ministry’s support in volunteering any possible assistance when necessary.
Clarifying the issue of the Eight Hundred and fifty million government counterpart fund, Mr Adesola confirmed that it was not released since the AFN and LOC then failed to present their expenditure and deficit documents which would have necessitated the release of that fund after the successful completion of the Games. Also explaining on the IAAF $150 Thousand Dollars, the Permanent Secretary said records in the Ministry revealed that the bulk of the money was spent between May and August 2017, but the other bulk was spent in 2019 without any reference to the Ministry, moreso it was paid into a private account in 2018. He said it is pertinent to clear these issues in the event of unfolding issues in the AFN.
Earlier, the Acting President, Mr. George said it was necessary to brief the Youth and Sports Ministry being the Supervisory Ministry on recent development in the Federation. He also confirmed that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development had not intervened, nor had any affair in the recent issues in the Federation: while also assuring that with the completion of investigation; if the suspended President Gusau would be proved innocent of these weighty allegations, he will be reinstated.