Fresh N850m controversy hits AFN as Ogba explains $150,000 IAAF grant
While athletics stakeholders were still trying to come to terms with the allegations and counter-allegations over a $150, 000 grant given to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) by the world governing body, World Athletics Championships ahead of the 2018 African Senior Championships in Asaba, another controversy surfaced yesterday over an additional N850 million budgeted for the same competition.
Some AFN board members, who are meeting in Abuja today, had at the weekend raised queries over a $150 million grant sent to help Nigeria host the African Championships in Asaba last year.
Some of the board members disclosed they were not aware of the payment 16 months after the championships was held, adding they would demand an explanation from the federation’s president during today’s board meeting.
They alleged that there were “so many infractions committed by the leadership of the AFN and we want to get answers to this and many more, including details of the contract with kits manufacturer, Puma, which has been shrouded in secrecy.” Yesterday, Evangelist Solomon Ogba, who served as the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for 2018 Africa Senior Athletics Championships, dismissed allegation that the AFN got $150, 000 for the event.
Rather, he said the money was explicitly given to the LOC to assist in the hosting of the continental championships and was never meant for the Federation. In a statement yesterday, Ogba said, “It is a global norm that when cities are to host important events, governing and continental bodies give monetary and technical assistance to support the LOCs, so the $150,000 was assistance for the LOC, not AFN.
“FIFA does similar things in football just like other world sporting bodies.That said if the $150,000 is even converted to naira, it is a pittance to what was spent to host Asaba 2018, which was adjudged as one of the best-organised editions of the continental showpiece.”Ogba, who resigned from the AFN board early yesterday, wondered why accusing fingers were being pointed at the AFN and no one was talking about the N850 million applied for by the Sports Ministry to support the African Championships. “As at today, neither the LOC of Asaba 2018 nor anyone from Delta State has been informed about what happened to the N850m the Sports Ministry requested from the Presidency for Asaba 2018,” Ogba noted.