By Ben Efe
Members of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria are at daggers drawn over an alleged monopolisation of the federation by president Tonobok Okowa.
A plot by a group within board to impeach Mr. Okowa is thickening, but the Delta State Sports Commission chairman who recently became the vice president of the Confederation of African Athletics still has the numbers behind him
However, former national hammer throw champion and president of the Nigeria Coaches Association, Gabriel Opuana has called on members on both sides to sheath their swords and instead forge a common ground to develop the sport.
“We can’t afford to be having one crisis after the other,” he said
“For good four years the AFN couldn’t do much because of the impasse between members and former president Ibrahim Gusau. This time around similar skirmishes are beginning to emerge and this is not good enough for the sport.
“We should all remember it is the athletes that suffer and it is because of them we are there on the board. Every member should be striving on how to get sponsorship for the AFN’s programmes; we can’t sit down and be bickering over monies that are not even there in the first place. Everyone should sit down and work so that the money would be flowing in,” Opuana said.
Since Okowa emerged as president of the AFN there have been quiet grumbles by certain members about how Okowa takes decisions in the running of the board with recourse to members. Those grumbles are getting louder with aggrieved members trying to gather the numbers needed to impeach Okowa.
“I urge members to cooperate with him and get the board working effectively for the athletes.
“We have so much work to do to bring our athletes back to where it was, but these bickering will not help matters at all,” Opuana added.

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