AFN committees are dealing with fresh mandates, says Nesiama

Pre-Africa Games Event Ends Today In Abuja
Chairman of the Competitions Organising Committee of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Commodore Omatseye Nesiama (rtd), has urged all stakeholders to join the federation achieve its ambition of delivering best-ever results at the fast-approaching Africa Games in Ghana and the Olympic Games slated for Paris, France.

He said the plea became necessary because of some discordant tunes from some members of the federation’s board.

“I want all athletics-loving Nigerians to know that we are a fresh committee dealing with a fresh mandate, and we are doing things in line with best practices,” he stated, yesterday.

Nesiama, a former Technical Director of the AFN, was responding to what has been viewed as misinformation by some of the board members, who are bent on inciting the athletes against the board.

Earlier, this week, a leading AFN board member issued a press statement saying that athletes deserve much more than the ‘paltry’ N40,000 being offered as top prize money for the Federation’s Evaluation Meets, which end today in Abuja.

Reacting to the statement on Thursday, Nesiama, a respected international athletics official, said: “We have to clean up the stable and prove that, on our own, that with little funds we can organise quality competitions. Thereafter, when we approach sponsors, they will be confident to deal with us.

“The headship and members of the various committees put in place by the AFN board last month are known to have the right pedigree and track records to deliver.”

AFN President, Tonobok Okowa also said the federation would not be distracted by ‘side talk’ in the build up to the Africa Games and the Olympics.

“We have some important assignments ahead of us, and the AFN is focused on delivering more than ever before. Those people whose aim is to cause trouble within the board or distract the athletes from giving their best should stay away. The athletes are moving into camp soon, and they need high level of concentration,” Okowa stated.

The AFN’s Evaluation Meets began on Friday, and will end today at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja. It is the first AFN pre-Africa Games competitions. Day1 of the event started with 5000m men and women.

According to AFN Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku, over 500 athletes from 27 States and some Athletics Cubs were in attendance.

Veteran 400m runner, Patience Okon George, was among top athletes present.

Onikeku said, the essence of the competition is to select athletes for AFN camp for the Africa Games.

“Athletes responded for this meet and we are happy about it. There’s hunger and enthusiasm among athletes for competition and we hope to get a good performance.

‘Today, which is Day 2 of the competition, will witness more action as 400m, 200m men and women finals, as well as the 400m hurdles and the sprint events would be on display.”

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