Sabotage: How Sports ministry officials destroyed Nigerian athletics
*Nigeria to miss Bahamas after missing Kenya, Algeria
*All of these on the anvil of election politics
By Olajide Fashikun
It is very sad but true that Nigeria has amassed the highest disgrace possible in athletics by missing two and will be adding the third event in the wake of the fact that certain officials of the Ministry of Sports wants to prove superiority given that their own persons were not elected into the boards on the 13th June 2017 election. They thus sabotaged the nation.
Investigations by www.gongnews.net showed that the nation was bureaucratically fixed to miss the 2017 CAA African Junior Championships in Algeria. This is the first time in 10 years after missing the 2007 edition held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
We also missed the IAAF U-18 championship in Kenya. This is ironically the first time in 20 years that Nigeria’s flag was missing in continental athletics contest. This is a clear case of sabotage. It borders on felony!
Incidentally, this is the second time the IAAF World Youth Championships will be hosted in Africa after Morocco hosted it in 2005. Nigeria’s U-18 athletes have been in camp in Abuja for weeks preparing for the World championship.
The 2017 CAA African Junior Championships in Algeria was held from 29th June to 2nd July without Team Nigeria. The 10th and final edition of the IAAF World U-18 Championships commenced in Kenya. In every event, we were tagged DNS (did not show). In Bahamas, we shall be recorded as DNS. Yet, Solomon Dalung and some of the ministry staffers had travelled to Bahamas to check the facilities.
As a serious mark of grim sabotage, the ministry officials booked the trip of the Nigerian team through America knowing fully well that they did not book for transit visa with the American embassy in Nigeria whereas they could have done the trip via Turkey which is easier and cheaper. Is the sabotage theory not clearly marked?
That on its own is a massive disgrace to a wealthy nation like Nigeria. It is not about the lack of money. Though, the so-called ministry officials claimed “there is no money.” Rather, it is to break down the fact that some folks are struggling for the rein to control the sport.
Athletics is the nation’s largest sport and the second on the ranking of funding by the government. Government officials want to always keep the federation within their control span to funnel their corrupt pockets.
For once, the 2013 elections took place and threw in a bunch of individuals that the ministry officials are not comfortable with. These persons were amateurishly forced to face re-run elections. These include Moscow 1980 sprinter and former Vice President of the AFN, Hameed Adio, Ibrahim Gusau who had been on the board in the last eight years. He was Solomon Ogba’s Vice President in the 2009 to the 2013 tenure.
The darkest horse was the winner of the south-east zone, Patrick Onyedum. The lame duck called the Appeals/Petitions committee did a very shoddy job. That was the platform used to throw spanner in the works of the ATM of the bureaucrats.
As a mark of their pain and anger, the All Nigeria national athletics trial took place right inside the National Stadium in Abuja. To show their disdain, no single Naira was released by the ministry for the event.
Authoritative sources disclosed that Ibrahim Gusau funded the championship. He demanded for the athletes and officials to be accommodated. Medals were for once produced and given to winners. The Director in charge of Federations and Elite Athlete Department (FEAD), Mrs Hauwa Kulu-Akinyemi and the robotic Permanent Secretary, Abdulrasaq Salau, did not step on the arena for the whole three days.
These ministry officials may be are not aware of the quality of diplomatic disgrace they have brought on the nation in international athletics forum. For the first time in recent times that Nigeria is not sending a team to the African Junior Championships, having amassed a total of 74 medals (33 Gold, 23 Silver and 18 Bronze) across four African Junior Championships from 2009 to 2015.
Incidentally, Nigeria topped the medals table at the last edition of the Championships held in Ethiopia two years ago, winning a total of 27 medals, eight of which were gold. Nigeria has dominated the Sprints and Relays at African Junior (U-20) level, winning 17 medals in 2009, 11 medals in 2011 and 19 medals in 2013.
Missing these three championships whose dates are wrapped around the election shows a grand sabotage. As it is, this leave a heavy death pall on the World championships holding in London. Will they complete the quartet of the sabotage whether or not they control the rein by the 20th July when the re-run will be conducted?