Board members of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) say Evangelist Solomon Ogba’s resignation from the federation’s board was an attempt to wave attention away from the $150,000 World Athletics grant given to the AFN for the hosting of the 21st African Athletics Championships in Asaba last year.
Brown Ebewele,one of the board members told the media on Monday that Ogba should explain why the money was not paid into the federation’s account but a private account.
Ogba had on Monday resigned as a board member of the AFN citing unhealthy politicking in the board and undue interference by the federal government in the affairs of the federation.
Ogba also revealed in another press statement by his media adviser,Olukayode Thomas that the $150,000 was a grant by World Athletics through the Confederation of African Athletics to the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the championship in Asaba.
‘Ogba should go and tell that to the Marines.When we hosted the African Junior Championships in 1997 in Ibadan,the IAAF gave AFN $90,000 to assist in the hosting of the championships.We know how this thing works and he shouldn’t come and be telling us cock and bull stories.The board is not interested in his resignation.We will go ahead with our investigation and will involve the anti-graft agencies if necessary,’said Ebewele who is in Abuja for a meeting of the federation’s board.
Another board member,Dare Esan also picked holes in Ogba’s claims that the constitution of the AFN is not being followed and that the federal government is unduly interfering in the affairs of the federation.
‘These are laughable claims really. Ogba should tell us who is not following the letters of the AFN constitution between Ibrahim Gusau,president of the federation who has turned himself into a sole administrator and the eight board members who demand justice,accountability and transparency.
‘The AFN constitution Gusau imposed on members says a 60-day notice must be given before a congress of the federation is convened but what did he do,he called for one on November 5,2019 for December 4,2019 in Awka,Anambra state.I think there is a difference between 29 days and 60 unless Mr Ogba says ther is none.So,please ask Mr Ogba who has violated the federation’s constitution,’asked Esan who has covered eight IAAF flagship events,the World Championships
‘Gusau also violated the constitution by usurping the powers of the secretary general.The secretary general,according to the AFN constitution is the custodian of the federation’s records,properties and documents but what did Gusau do,he changed the password of the federation’s email and stopped the sribe from communicating with World Athletics.So who has violated the constitution Mr Ogba?
‘Gusau signed a deal with sportswear manufacturer,PUMA without the knowledge and signature of the chief executive officer of the federation and somebody is saying he has done no wrong? Common Mr Ogba,we are no fools.
‘Mr Ogba also said government is unduly interfering in the affairs of the AFN.Help me ask him,how did he get into the board? Through government interference as he was nominated by the same government he is now criticising. The AFN got N35m for the IAAF World Championships in Doha in September/October,got N13m for the CAA Youth and junior championships in Abidjan and N39m to buy kits and pay allowances for the athletes who participated in the African Championships in Asaba and this was not seen as interference.
‘The incredible thing common to all these releases is that Gusau is still owing the athletes allowances.The athletes,25 of them are owed $300 each for Doha despite collecting N35m from government amid revelations that World Athletics paid for the travel and accommodation of all the athletes 100% and subsidised the accommodation of 14 officials by 55%;the youth and junior athletes have not been paid a dime as allowances while those who were in Asaba last year got less than $400 each for CAA’s flagship event.