Abia State Sports Council Corruption: Chief Of Staff, Head Of Service, Permanent Secretary, React
By Our Correspondent
Following Bestchoicesports.com.ng exclusive report on crisis rocking the Abia State Sports Council caused by accusations and counter accusations of financial maleficence and alleged maladministration, the Chief of Staff to the Governor; Head of Service, Abia State Civil Service and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of youth and sports have reacted to the allegations.
I cannot confirm stupidity – Mr Anthony Agbazuere, Chief of Staff to Abia State Governor
Reacting when our correspondent contacted him know the views of the state government on the allegations as well as the report submitted by the panel, the Chief of Staff to Abia State Governor, Mr Anthony Agbazuere said he cannot confirm ‘stupidity’ and asked our correspondent to ‘grow up’.
The Mr Agbazuere who sounded unfriendly on phone added that he does not work with the Abia State Sports Council therefor does not have idea of what was going on there.
After his unkind words with our correspondent, he denied him the chance to inform him that our correspondent was right there in Umuahia to investigate the story.
Reproduced here is the conversation our correspondent had with him on phone on Monday
BSC: Hello, good morning, sir.
BCS: How was your night sir?
Who is this?
BCS: (tells his name) please I hope I am speaking with Chief Anthony Agbazuere, Chief of Staff to Abia State Governor, sir?
BCS: I am a sports journalist from Abuja
BCS: Alright. Please we are following up a report we got concerning Abia State Sports Council and alleged corruption going on there. I understand that…
(Cuts in) listen! Listen!! Let me tell you, eehh? Let me just tell you. Because of my experience in life that is why I will advise you. This kind of style is no longer working.
If there is anything you have, do you want me at my level to confirm stupidity? Nonsense, what I don’t even know about? If there is something you think you heard, you should be investigative. You travel down on your own and go and confirm.
You are asking me of something on phone about corruption in sports. Am I sports? Do I work in sports? What kind of nonsense is that? You people should grow. The way to go is that if you feel there is anything, stop blackmailing people. If you feel there is anything, you travel, go to the state, investigate and not on phone. Don’t bring such stupidity with me. Okay?
BCS: I understand, we have our reporter in Umuahia right now but…(Mr Agbazuere’s line went off).
The Head of Service, Abia State Civil Service, Onyi Nwanma declined to speak with our correspondent on telephone and insisted that he must see him before he could talk about the allegations. In his words, “I don’t know you. I can’t talk to you on phone. I need to see you, let’s talk. You can make your enquiries. I am a civil servant,” he said.
My work stops after submitting report – Permanent Secretary
In an interview with our correspondent, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of youth and sports development, Elder Friday Ikpeoha confirmed our earlier report that the commissioner of youth and sports in the state did set up a panel to investigate the accusation of corruption against the Abia State Sports Council Director, Isaac Ogbonna Isaac.
Although the permanent Secretary declined to lead our correspondent into what the panel’s findings were and recommendations, he nonetheless said it was not in his position to disclose the content of the report and directed our correspondent to meet with the Commissioner for youth and sports in the state,
First, Bestchoicesports.com.ng asked to know if the report has been submitted to the commissioner.
“It is not my duty to let out the findings or the content of the report. We submitted (the report) to the Honourable Commissioner whose duty it is to transmit it to the governor.
“I have also availed a copy of the report to the Head of Service who controls all staffs in the civil service. So that is the much I can say. It is left for the Head of Service, the commissioner or the governor to say something on that. My duty stops at collating the report and submitting it.
BCS: In other words, the report has not been made public?
No. It has not been made public.
BCS: We have it in authority that the Abia State Director of Sports, the accountant and head of Staff Welfare Association were all indicted by the panel. Can you tell us more?
I cannot say that now. If I tell you that now, that means I have started telling you something that is in the report. I cannot say anything concerning the report. In fact, call the commissioner to tell you what he has in that report. You know I am a permanent Secretary.
BCS: We understand sir. We am calling you on the basis of you being the chairman of the panel that investigated the alleged corruption in the council.
My job stops after submitting the report.
BCS: Okay. You were given three weeks to carry out your investigation and submit your findings. What and what did you investigate in the council, sir?
We completed the assignment and submitted our report. Call the Honourable Commissioner he is the person that can talk to you. I am not permitted to talk to the press concerning this issue. Thank you.
AUPCTRE Confirms Petition Against Director
When contacted, the state secretary of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Service Employee, AUPCTRE, Rev Ekere confirmed that the union wrote a petition and the commissioner set up a panel that had sat and submitted report to the commissioner which would be transmitted to the governor.
“We are waiting for the panel’s report. They have not told us what the report is but we are waiting to hear their report. Everybody is waiting to hear what the governor will say,” he said.
Calls sent to the Honourable Commissioner for Youth and sports Development; Mr Emeka George Ikwuagwu did not pick his phone calls.
Text message sent to his mobile phone number was unreplied.