The organising committee for the hugely successful Nigerian Athletics Championships which served as selection trials for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham has denied that athletes were ‘treated with disdain’.
Henry Okorie, the athletes representative on the board of the AFN had petitioned the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare accusing the chairman of the organising committee, chief Solomon Ogba of treating the athletes with ‘disdain’.
“Our attention has been drawn to the petition written by Henry Okorie, the athletes representative on the board of AFN accusing the chairman of the Organising Committee for the championships of not respecting the athletes,” the Organising Committee said in a media release signed by its chairman, chief Ogba.
“While we feel it is not necessary to join issues with Okorie who, as a member of the executive board of the AFN should be abreast of development in the federation especially the organization of the event, it is however necessary we put the record straight for posterity to judge us.
“Okorie pretended not to know that the committee was charged with the responsibility of raising funds for the organization of the championships.
“The N10m raised was not even enough to pay for the flight tickets of the Ghana and Benin relay teams invited for the championships as well as some of our foreign based athletes.
“Okorie should have endeavoured to find out how the committee managed to accomplish the task with just N10m.
“If he must know, the chairman of the committee he desperately tried to malign used some of his personal money to offset some of the expenses incurred including the money Okorie collected for the feeding of some of the athletes.
“He should also know that the AFN president and the Delta State Sports Commission also came in to rescue the committee.
“He may also claim not to be aware of the delegation to the Edo state acting governor (at the time), Comrade Philips Shaibu on the first day of the championships who speedily granted the committee’s request for more assistance.”
The organising committee says the AFN should refer Okorie to its disciplinary committee as what he has done without stating how the chairman of the organising committee treated the athletes with disdain is capable of bringing the federation into disrepute.
“If he does not know, it is the board of the AFN of which he is a member he has rubbished with his unfounded allegation and not chief Ogba who was a two-time president of the AFN honoured by World Athletics in 2013 with a veterans pin award for his contribution to the development of athletics in Nigeria.”
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