Lambasted for his dictatorial leadership style
Crises riddle Athletics Federation of Nigeria
By Rasheed Adewuyi
The Tonobok Okowa-led AthIetics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has been enmeshed in crisis as board members allegedly accused the President of unilaterally leading the federation.
Investigations revealed that 80 percent of members are calling for urgent emergency meeting with a view to keeping the records straight.
Sources close to the federation said that board members were displeased with the crisis as the president has sidelined them in making decisions.
The source also informed that Okowa had resorted to using those considered as outsiders for major assignments, while also not involving the members in sponsorship deals that involves the AFN.
The members alleged that Okowa had concealed the monetary deals involving the federation, as well as Premium Bank, which organizes the Lagos City Marathon.
They also accused Okowa of denigrating them in manners unbecoming of a leader, while also accusing the president of deploying moles to undermine the board members.
“Imagine, AFN President was elected president for Africa Zone 2 and none of the board members was informed or have knowledge of it” an aggrieved member of the board of the Federation complained.
“The magnitude of ignorance exhibited by the AFN president through his style of administration has caused the federation enough disregard and disrespect from most international athIetics bodies.
“Okowa didn’t organize any athIetics competition or attracted any sponsorship deal to the federation in two years, but claimed to be spending his personal money which was understandably sourced from the government of Delta State,” the source further claimed.
Investigation also revealed that all AFN sub-committees are not functional, while the majority of board members are ignored by the President, and are not involved in team selection or assigned responsibilities.
The appointment of AFN national coach was done without the board’s approval, a development that was displeasing to the board members. In addition, there is no accountability and transparency in governance as there are no documents to back up loans, endorsements and World AthIetics (WA) funds that accrue to the federation, leading to hardships faced by coaches and lack of competitions for athletes.
The AFN President recently sourced money to actualize the Nigerian junior athletes’ trip to Zambia for the CAA Championship, none of the board members were notified of the funds drive.
Also, the team to Zambia was selected unilaterally by the President and the Technical Director, with majority of the athletes coming from only two geographical zones.
“We have serious issues at the AFN and the earlier these issues are addressed the better for the progress of athletics in Nigeria,” a federation source told TheNicheng.com.