By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
The last may not have been heard about the Puma kits deal allegedly signed by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) under the leadership of embattled ex- President of the federation, Ibrahim Gusau, as two ex-board members have called on the Federal Government to look into the controversy to ascertain the truth about the deal.
Former Vice President of AFN, Olamide George and and ex- Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye, have separately called for the Nigerian government to intervene by digging deeper into the controversy surrounding the Puma kits deal.
Team Nigeria athletes to Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan alleged that they are not properly kitted with Shot Putter, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, posting a viral video in which he was seen washing jersey and also claimed that Nigerian athletes were “washing and wearing” one piece of jersey to compete for the nation in Tokyo.
This is even when it has become a public knowledge that the Gusau-led AFN officially informed the supervisory Ministry of Sports and Youth Development that Puma kits containing over 40 items in each athlete’s bag are readily available for Nigerian athletes in Tokyo.
However, Team Nigeria was suited in locally sourced kits, leaving the Puma kits which were shipped directly to Japan for the use of Nigerian athletes, a situation which has angered the German sports kits manufacturing company to terminate the $2.76m contract it signed with AFN in 2019.
But George and Adeleye insisted on the intervention of the government in order to unearth the reason behind the rejection of the kits supplied by Puma which has a legal kitting contract with AFN.
According to George: “Federal Government should ask questions on not only the Puma kits deal but also the one before it (Nike) and the latest one the Sports Ministry signed on before the Tokyo Olympics.
“I was not part of the signing but I have since discovered that AFN General Secretary who is a staff of Sports Ministry and the Chairman, Marketing Committee of AFN both signed the agreement with Puma hence the contract stands”, the ex-VP posited.
Also, Adeleye who was the Technical Director of AFN when the Puma kits deal was signed is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency reorganise the Nigerian sports architecture.
Said he: “I am urging our dear President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his searchlight into the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development with the main purpose of remove all the obstacles that have been holding our sports development down.
“I hold the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development responsible for all the problems that have bedeviled our sports especially AFN. You cannot change the leadership of AFN and all Sports Federation on the eve of Olympic Games. Who does that and record good harvest of Olympic medals”, Adeleye asked rhetorically.