*Give me your confidence for greater tomorrow – Tunde Abdulkareem
major stakeholders in Nigerian athletics have launched a campaign against the outgoing President of the sport, Solomon Ogba, who is using the window of the amended guideline to stage a return for the dreaded third term.
Coach Uruemu Adu on his facebook did a casual comment on his time line where he opined, “It is great wickedness on Nigerian athletes and coaches if Solomon Ogba returns as president of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). I do not want him and so many others do not want him.
In what looked like a brief assessment of his last eight years tenure, the experienced and successful coach surmised, “Who you help? Go help your family and cronies not as AFN president. Just stating my mind. I do not need you Solomon Ogba as president of AFN.
The coach then urged other stakeholders in the industry to say, “Please join me to say NO to his coming back.”
Don Ajalakpo in his own comment went evaluative suggesting that Ogba should have realised he is not wanted in the sport. His words: “even when they see the hand writing on the wall that they are not needed, they will still want to force themselves on the people.”
Rather, Olufarati Dare went spiritual praying that, “God will not allow him again.”
Whereas, Azeez Morili like a teacher assessed his two-terms as a failure leaving a gasping wave of the hand dismissal, “hmmmmm, after how many years?”
Writhing with anger in his words, Angel Belt, reassured Uruemu saying in pidgin English, “Coach no worry de winches and wizard for him village don set to flog am koboko (a local cane made from leather) after three press up.”
Another contributor, Hima Charles, was angry at pro-Ogba campaigners who he lashed out: “I no see who he help ooo. Some foolish people still dey say Solomon Ogba try. What is the definition of try? Most times I just imagine, if I can become EFCC boss and help the sports to the next level. Secondly, when athletes are too weak speak out (I call it cowardice), make God answer those that don’t want the growth of the sport at heart. Our problem is Ogba, and the ex athletes around him, they forgot they ran too soon. Make everybody come together in a first competition and pray against who ever don’t mean well for the sport to be judged by God quickly.”
As if responding to the clamour, AFN’s outgoing Vice President, Alhaji Tunde Abdulkareem said in an interview, “I am hoping to be elected as President on the 13th June. We have marshalled out initiatives to bring back the lost glory of the sport.
Asked what he intends to do differently if elected, he said, “we have a partnership that has been concluded to establish six athletics development centres across the nation within the next one year where we shall employ about 124 coaches and provided with the proper equipment.”
The building which athletics occupies in Nigeria is dilapidated, weak and architecturally weak. We must bring down that house, rebuild it with coaches and athletes as the centrepiece. Athletics is too big a sport to be made to crawl on the little or non existent funds in government.
Presently, we have spoken to a private sports development organisation that will be pumping about N250million into our local circuits. If there are regular competitive championships for coaches and athletes, where there is good money to be made, sponsors will be attracted and more athletes encouraged to take up and build a career in the sport.”