Sports ministry officials ‘killing’ Buhari’s anti- corruption crusade, says Ebewele
A board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Brown Ebewele is not happy with the manner some top officials in the Ministry of Youth and Sports are going about their duties despite the anti-corruption crusade being driven by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Buhari’s administration has insisted that it would fight corruption in all its ramifications despite strong resistance by some individuals and groups.
Ebewele, a former sports commissioner in Edo State, is of the view that some officials in the sports ministry are aiding corruption.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Ebewele alleged that some top officials in the sports ministry were working behind the door to protect those involved in the IAAF’s much publicised ‘missing’ $130,000. The sum was erroneously sent to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria in 2017.
“Before the former Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung left office, the board of the AFN had a crucial meeting concerning the IAAF’s $130,000. At the end, we came up with a resolution that the president of the AFN, Ibrahim Shahu-Gusau should be investigated, at least to know his role in the missing money.
“We met later with top officials of the sports ministry, and our resolution was passed to the legal department of the ministry. It was approved and the ministry then gave us the go-ahead to set up a panel to investigate Gusau. Do you know that as soon as Dalung left office, the same sports ministry officials, who gave us the approval to set up the probe panel, now turned around to shield Gusau from being investigated. This is against Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade and I want the Presidency to be aware of it.
“Before we held that meeting in Abuja, where the decision to probe Gusau was taken, we had a crisis in the AFN, when 120 athletes wrote a petition to the sports ministry seeking the recall of the Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye because they (athletes) felt he was not protecting their interest on the board.
“The ministry issued Adeleye a query, which he failed to reply. He was given 10 days to respond, but Adeleye ignored them. We were later told that the ministry resolved to suspend him. As a matter of fact, Adeleye’s suspension letter was ready since on Tuesday, but some top officials in the ministry are doing everything possible to sit on it. They are encouraging all manner of things in the sports ministry. Nobody is willing to join Buhari in his battle against corruption. How do we move forward as a nation?
“Nigerian sports has become a den of corruption and nobody is doing anything about it. This is sad,” Ebewele stated.
No official of the ministry of Youth and Sports was willing to speak on the matter yesterday.
Several telephone calls to the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusola were not answered. He also did not respond to a text message to his mobile phone.
The Guardian recalls that Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement recently that the war against perfidy and corruption by the administration would not stop despite the opposition against it in some quarters.
The presidential aide, who featured on a radio programme, Hannu Da Yawa, on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Kaduna zonal station said: “To keep that trust of ordinary Nigerians, who voted him into the office, he has vowed to give corruption a good fight. He will not let them down.”
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