Nigeria: No National Federation Has Right of Autonomy, Says Sports Ministry

6 December 2019

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports (FMY &S) has insisted that it has statutory responsibilities for the formulation, supervision, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on sports administration in the country.

Speaking in reaction to claims by the suspended President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Ibrahim Shehu Gusau declaring autonomy for track and field in Nigeria, the Permanent Secretary of the FMYS, Olusade Adesola said yesterday in a statement that in the discharge of these responsibilities, the Ministry through the 38 National Sports Federations under its supervision ensures the compliance with laid down Rules and Regulations of the Code of Governance, which the constitution of the National Sports Federations recognises.

"By appropriation, the Ministry is equally responsible for the financial sponsorship of most activities of the National Sports Federations, the preparation and participation at international competitions as well as the presentation of Nigerian athletes at international competitions.

"In accordance with provisions of Article 13(1) of the Code of Governance for National Sports Federations, each National Sports Federation is expected to furnish the Ministry with its Quarterly and Annual Performance Report of its activities.

"While it is acknowledged that National Sports Federations are independent in the administration of their day to day activities, no National Sports Federation can be said to be autonomous of Government due to the constitutional provisions as well as the appropriation support from the Federation Account of the Federal Government," the Permanent Secretary stressed in reply to the purported autonomy suspended Gusau craved for his factional AFN.

The Ministry warned Gusau to abide by the resolution of the proceedings of the AFN board meeting that suspended him from office.

The ministry said the December 3 meeting in Abuja where seven of the 10 members of the AFN Board removed Gusau as the President, was duly convened.

Adesola said that the ministry had received the communiqué arising from the AFN Board meeting signed by the Secretary General, Prince Adeniyi A. Beyioku.

Gusau was absent at the meeting and in his absence, the Board mandated the Vice President, Olamide George to preside over the proceedings of the Board in acting capacity.

The board levelled several violations of the federation's Constitution against Gusau including alleged financial impropriety and entering into a deal with Puma without formal documentation.

In similar vein, the ministry has accepted the resignation of Chief Solomon Ogba from the board of the AFN.

Ogba, a former president of the AFN for eight years resigned from the federation early this week due to what he called undue interference of the ministry in the affairs of the apex track and field ruling body in the country.

In accepting Ogba's resignation yesterday, the Permanent Secretary said as government nominee as ex-officio on the board, he wished the former Delta State sports commissioner best wishes in his next endeavors.

" I am directed to acknowledge your voluntary withdrawal from the board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) as an ex officio member vide your widely publicised announcement of December 3, 2019.

" In view of the fact that you are a nominee of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, the ministry hereby convey it's acceptance of your withdrawal from the said date of the declaration," the ministry's letter to Ogba yesterday stated.

Ogba was part of the faction of the AFN led by suspended Gusau at a gathering in Awka, Anambra State on Wednesday where they declared autonomy for track and field in the country.

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