Tokyo 2020 Olympic Trials: Ministry warns Gusau against sabotaging Nigeria’s interest


As the imbroglio and leadership tussle engulfing the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) reached crescendo, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has strongly warned that it will not accept  any act of sabotage calculated at undermining Nigeria’s chances at the Tokyo Olympics.

Two factions, one led by Shehu Gusau, and the other by Tonobok Okowa, are laying claim to the post of AFN presidency, a situation that poses risk to Nigeria’s podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics.

In a strongly worded statement made available to Blueprint Sports and signed by Mohammed Manga, Director (Press & Public Relations) of the ministry, gave stern warning about any disruption of the Tokyo Olympics trials which seven countries were invited to participate in.

The warning of the Federal Government became necessary after it was brought to its notice that certain elements were involved in acts aimed at sabotaging Nigeria’s Olympics Invitational trials slated for this weekend in Yaba College of Technology. The statements reads in part, “This act is tantamount to undermining Nigeria’s National interest in the area of Sports. For the avoidance of doubt, a successful AFN Congress was held in Abuja to elect a new Board, led by Tonobok Okowa as President. This new board for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) was inaugurated by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development on June 15th 2021. 

‘This should expectedly bring closure to all the distractions occasioned by the leadership crisis that ended with the expiration of the old AFN board. 

“The Ministry’s focus remains achieving an impressive podium performance for Nigeria at the Olympics, for which it has approved a series of qualifying events for Team Nigeria athletes to score the final points required to qualify for the Olympic Games.

 “Anyone, under any guise, attempting to block participating countries and athletes from attending these events is consequently sabotaging Nigeria, and will be held accountable,” the statement concluded.