Gusau Commends Dare on Plans to Grant National Sports Federation Independence

May 19 19:42 2020

The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Hon. Engr. Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, PhD, FNSE, FNCS has commended the Hon. Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Sunday Dare on his decision to pursue the independence of National Sports Federations (NSFs).
Hon. Shehu-Gusau, who is also the President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Region II as well as Vice President of the CAA, averred that granting independence to the National Sports Federations conforms with best international practices and is in tandem with the provisions of international sporting organisations. It will be recalled that in a recent Radio interview, the Hon. Minister of Youth & Sports Development, Sunday Dare said that the Federal Government is working towards granting independence to the National Sports Federations.

The AFN President noted that sports in Nigeria would not develop at the rate it ought to if left to be wholly sponsored by Government. He stated that the only way the private sector can be attracted to sports sponsorship is when its administration is handed over to interested, selfless individuals with government supervising. He said that there is a world of difference between interference and supervision.
Hon. Gusau reiterated the position of the AFN on its declaration of autonomy at the Akwa Congress of the Federation wherein he urged the Ministry of Youth & Sport Development to grant autonomy to AFN to enable it realise its mandate and potentials. He said that in declaring autonomy, the AFN was mindful of the fact that to abandon the full funding of sports in the hands of government will stunt the growth of Athletics.
He recalled several attempts by the Federation to attract sponsorship from individuals and corporate organisations and noted that they were met with the same response. Though these would-be sponsors were interested in investing in the Federation, they declined because, as they rightly claimed, government is richer than they were and so, could not give “money” to government. In addition, they would want to see an organisation that could account directly for whatever funds is given to it in a very transparent manner.
The AFN President noted that the Federation, under his leadership has organised several competitions and programmes which were sponsored without government funding.
Gusau used the opportunity to explain that the primary interest of his administration is the welfare of the athletes, without whom there would be no Federation. This according to him, was the reason why his Board encourages all athletes to always keep in shape and endeavour to participate in as many approved competitions as possible.

With government’s plan to grant independence to NSFs, Hon. Shehu-Gusau believes that the singular act will rid the Federations of all those clamouring to administer sports but whose focus is to mismanage the funds that government puts into sports. He said that once the policy is operational, the wheat will be separated from the chaff.

The AFN President wished the Hon. Minister well and assured Nigerians that his administration is poised to return Athletics to its original leading place in the history of Nigerian Sports as he expressed confidence in the ability of Team Nigeria to return with a minimum of 2 Gold Medals whenever the 2020 Olympic Games holds.

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