…………as board members being influenced to impeach incumbent president
By Fred Edoreh
The former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and First Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Solomon Ogba, has resigned from the AFN board in protest on Monday 2 December 2019 in what he described overbearing pressure on the federation and unfair plots to impeach the incumbent President, Ibrahim Gusau on unfounded allegations, one of which is that the AFN received $150,000 from the Confederation of Africa Athletics for the organisation of the Africa Championships which Ogba revealed is untrue and used the medium to raise questions on the whereabouts of the N850m purportedly applied for by the sports establishment to the federal government to support the organisation of the last edition of the Africa Senior Athletics Championship, Asaba 2018.
In a statement by his media aide, Kayode Thomas, Ogba had explained that he is disgusted with orchestrated attempts to twist facts just to hold the AFN President accountable for a fund he did not receive.
“It is a global norm that when cities are to host important events, international and continental governing bodies give monetary and technical assistance to support the Local Organising Committees, so the 150,000 USD was assistance for the LOC, not AFN. FIFA does similar things in football just like other world sporting bodies,” Ogba clarified, pointing out that the $150,000, when converted to Naira, is a pittance compared to what was spent by the Delta State Government to host the event adjudged by the IAAF and CAA as one of the best-organized editions of the continental competition.
Wondering why the AFN was being wrongly accused of receiving money that experienced sports administrators should know was not sent to the federation, Ogba counseled that the talking point should rather be about the N850m supposedly applied for by the Sports Ministry under the ministerial tenure of Solomon Dalung to support the African Championships but from which the organisers have been kept in the dark.
“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.”
Describing the interference on the affairs of the AFN as increasingly unbecoming and the desperation to impeach its President as “unfair, unjust and uncalled for,” Ogba who is renowned as one of the most resourceful and passionate stakeholders in Nigeria athletics declared there is no going back on his decision to leave the board but assured that he will continue to contribute to the development of athletics and sports in general in Nigeria.
“As an elder statesman, I cannot continue to watch and see things go bad but my resignation from the board does not mean I am no longer part of the athletics family. I am still the Chairman of Delta State Athletics Association which is one of the biggest stakeholders in the country and I will continue in that role even as I will continue to contribute at all levels to the development of sports.