Time for Uncle JOE to Show Courage and Fight Corruption in Sports


By Sylvanus Ofekun

The groanings and the passionate appeals from sports stakeholders to the Sports Minister, Senator John Owan Enoh to act on the AFN’s audit committee to save image of Sports in Nigeria is gathering momentum.

The audit committee which was set up by the executive board of the federation pursuant to article 14.3.3 of the 2023 AFN constitution as amended, to probe the finances of the federation between January and September, 2023 recommended the redeployment of the Secretary General. The audit committee report revealed how the AFN Secretary General carried out expenditures on behalf of the federation without budgets and approvals which is a violation of article 24.1 of the 2023 AFN constitution as amended.

The report also recommended that the Secretary General should refund all monies she spent without approvals and evidence of payments following her refusal to furnish the committee with the necessary documents relating to the expenditures. On AFN President,Tonobok Okowa, the report recommended he should return to the AFN the N40m he took from the sponsorship fee paid by Premium Trust Bank.

Unfortunately, the Minister has maintained a taciturn posture, signaling an endorsement to the reckless adventures by those indicted in the audit report.The Nigeria Sports Minister, Senator John Owan Enoh, must show courage in fighting corruption in sports for several compelling reasons.

Firstly, corruption in sports undermines the integrity and fairness of the game. It erodes public trust and confidence in the sports sector and hampers the development of talented athletes. By taking a firm stance against corruption, Senator John Owan Enoh can restore faith in Nigerian sports and ensure that athletes have equal opportunities to excel based on their skills and hard work.

Secondly, corruption in sports diverts valuable resources that could be used for infrastructure development, athlete training, and grassroots programs. Funds meant for the improvement of sports facilities and the development of young talents are often siphoned off by corrupt individuals, leaving Nigerian sports in a state of neglect and underinvestment. Senator Enoh’s commitment to fighting corruption will ensure that these resources are utilized properly, leading to improved facilities, better training programs, and increased sporting achievements.

Furthermore, corruption in sports perpetuates a culture of dishonesty and unethical behavior. It sets a bad example for young athletes who may think that success can be achieved through deceit and cheating. By cracking down on corruption, Senator Enoh can instill a culture of integrity and fair play within the sports community, providing a positive role model for aspiring athletes and fostering a more ethical sports environment.

Additionally, corruption in sports has negative implications for Nigeria’s international reputation. The country’s sporting achievements are often marred by scandals and allegations of corruption, which diminishes its standing in the global sports community. By actively combating corruption, Senator Enoh can restore Nigeria’s credibility and enhance its image as a nation committed to upholding integrity in sports.

Lastly, corruption in sports impacts the livelihoods of athletes and sports professionals. Unscrupulous practices such as match-fixing, bribery, and embezzlement can deprive athletes of the opportunities and rewards they rightfully deserve. Senator Enoh’s efforts to fight corruption will ensure that athletes are fairly compensated for their hard work, talent, and dedication, creating a more equitable and sustainable sports system in Nigeria.

In conclusion, Senator John Owan Enoh must exhibit courage in fighting corruption in sports for the sake of integrity, fairness, development, reputation, and the well-being of athletes. By taking a strong stand against corruption, he can restore public trust, allocate resources effectively, create a culture of integrity, enhance Nigeria’s international standing, and protect the rights of athletes. It is imperative that Senator Enoh demonstrates the necessary determination and resolve to tackle corruption head-on and usher in a new era of transparency and accountability in Nigerian sports.

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