Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, embattled President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), has said that the federation will work diligently to unravel all corrupt practices in the federation.
Shehu-Gusau said this on Sunday, December 8th in a news conference to address the situation of things happening in the federation. He said that the measure was in keeping with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to accountability and transparency.
He was however suspended last week by some members for alleged violation of the constitution of the federation, misappropriation and misapplication of funds, and his penchant for taking unilateral decisions without the board’s approval, among other charges.
While reacting to the allegations, Gusau said his travails began when he invited the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to look into the $130, 000 saga with a view to clearing his name.
“On the inauguration of our Board in July, 2017, I was confronted with an allegation in respect of USD150,000 paid to the AFN. I was accused of mismanaging the funds and in keeping with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to accountability and transparency, I submitted myself to the relevant agencies for investigation.
“The individual reports exonerated me from any culpability but raised questions which the agencies are diligently pursuing. My action in submitting myself to be investigated laid the foundation for the misunderstandings being experienced in the AFN today.
“It is common knowledge that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has been doing everything within his powers to attract foreign investments. He is also irrevocably committed to creating jobs, especially for our teeming youth,” he said.
He said that securing alternative means of funding the activities of the federation would ease the pressure on government.
“The sponsorship deal signed with Puma attests to the capacity of this board to attract private funding for sports from within and outside the country. It will also create jobs for the youth of this country as sports has the capacity to create enormous job opportunities.
“This is part of the reasons we seek autonomy to enable us to increase the funding base of the Federation. I am pleased to inform Nigerians that the Puma sponsorship deal, which is in kind, will run from Sept. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2022.
“It is unique in the sense that Puma will deliver kits worth USD2.76m to the Federation in Abuja, that way, we do not have to spend scarce resources available to be travelling to Germany to collect the kits.
“We are working hard to ease the pressure on government yet some people are bent on frustrating our efforts. Since the advent of this current leadership, there has been one problem or the other, all geared towards directly administering the Sports Federations. The AFN is not the first and if something is not done to curtail their excesses, it will definitely not be the last,” he said.