Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday in Abuja warned that no national sports federation in the country is autonomous of the government. Dare, while inaugurating the new board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), led by Tonobok Okowa, said no sports federation can unilaterally lay claim to any autonomy. The […]
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday in Abuja warned that no national sports federation in the country is autonomous of the government.
Dare, while inaugurating the new board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), led by Tonobok Okowa, said no sports federation can unilaterally lay claim to any autonomy.
The minister’s position was against the backdrop of the AFN board elections of Monday, with the one in Abuja producing Okowa and the other in Birnin-Kebbi producing Ibrahim Gusau.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no sports federation is autonomous of government. If such exists, it’s a misnomer and illegal. None of Nigeria’s 38 federations is autonomous,” he said.
Dare, who emphasised that the only AFN board recognised by the Sports Ministry was the one led by Okowa, state’s that the country’s laws were clear on this.
“Government recognises the place of their (federations) respective Constitutions and their operations, which must respect the laws of Nigeria.
“Our laws are clear and it is upon the laws of Nigeria that the ministry governs the sports sector,” he said.
The minister explained that the ministry’s recognition of Okowa’s board was due to the compliance with the Constitution of the Federation and laws of the land.
“You are the legitimate governing body for the sports of track and field in Nigeria, duly elected by the Congress of the AFN and recognised by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
Dare, while charging the board to reposition the federation in line with international best practices, said its emergence was indeed a new dawn for track and field in Nigeria.
“This has been exemplified by the way you conducted your elections strictly in accordance with the federation’s 2017 Constitution as recommended by both the World Athletics and the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA).
“This shows a new seed of hope has germinated to replace some of the rotten seeds sowed some four years ago.”
He assured that the ministry would duly inform World Athletics of the new development, according to articles 7.5 and 9.1 (e) of 2019 World Athletics Constitution.
Dare also said the Federal Government was working round the clock to ensure podium finish for Team Nigeria at the Tokyo-Olympics.
“The Nigerian government, through the Youth and Sports Ministry, will continue in dynamic partnership and understanding with the continental and international bodies
charged with the Development of Athletics in Nigeria for the sake of our talented youths,” he said.
Okowa, in his remarks after the swearing-in of the board members, pledged to place priority on the welfare, training and exposure of athletes and coaches.
“We are aware of the task ahead of us, especially now that the road to Tokyo is very close.
“We are going to make the welfare and training of our athletes and coaches at top priority,” he said.
The new AFN President pledged to extend a hand of friendship to all factions with a view of building a strong united Federation.
The 14-member board which has 12 members for now, has as Gadzama Tafida as its First Vice-President, while Rosaline Collins-Okah is the Second Vice-.President.
Supreme reports that Okowa had on Monday emerged the new President of AFN in the elections conducted in Abuja, while Gusau was re-elected AFN President in Birnin-Kebbi same day.