BY TAOFEEK LAWAL, Abuja
The president-elect, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Honorable Ibrahim Gusau, has promised that his board will bring back the good old days in athletics saying it is high time to set Nigerian athletes on winning path again. Gusau, a former chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), said Nigeria’s dominance in athletics in Africa and the world must be restored through the efforts of every stakeholder.
He said, “There is so much we could for athletics in Nigeria. This is not the best of time for sports in Nigeria. I’m calling on everyone that is a stakeholder and even those who are not but have passion for athletics should all come out so we can work together and make athletics work again. We need to go back to those beautiful days of Mary Onyali, Sunday Bada, Chidi Imoh, the Ezenwa brothers when we were getting medals right and center. When the Commonwealth was held in Manchester years back, I made a promise then that any Nigerian that picked a gold medal in that Game would be given a car. We all living witnesses that I fulfilled my promise when Blessing Okagbare won and I presented her a brand new jeep Hyundai Elantra. It was a great motivation for the athletes and I did that to create competition among Nigerian athletes.”
Meanwhile, AFN vice president-elect, Honorable Olamide George, has also called on the private sector to complement government’s effort to give the necessary support to athletics in Nigeria. He appealed to the private sector to help resuscitate athletics’ meets like the Mobil and Chevron which had prepared Nigerian athletes for continental and global competitions.
“The private sector must wake up to revive our Mobil meet, the Chevron meet and other private sector that have been doing well for sports in the past. We should not leave the funding of sports to government alone, all of us, individuals, the private sector and sponsors must come together,” he stated.