The Athletes and Technical Representatives of the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria (GFN), Helen Ocheke and Anthony Asuquo have accused its president, Kelvin Ehizogie of running the federation as a personal business.
Ocheke and Asuquo during an interview with aclsports.com, both alleged that the president takes unilateral decisions without carrying board members along.
They raised alarm over the exclusion of their names from the Africa Youth Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
She claimed to have called the president but he refused picking or returning her call
Ocheke said the president is not carrying her along in his decisions as the representative in the board; calling for her mandate to be returned to her.
“We want to get our mandate back. We are not tools and cannot be used and dumped. We fought side by side with him during the last federation’s elections. Since coming on board, he has done no programme”, she said.
She said, “I overheard that the President calls for meeting occasionally and nobody calls me. I’ve not sat for any meeting since he became president”.
On why she was sidelined on the recent Tokyo training tour, Ocheke said, “Honestly, I can’t answer that question because I am not aware. Naturally, I ought to be with the team, it’s my duty and rights as an athlete’s representatives to be at either local or international competitions but my name was removed.
“Even the Commonwealth list, I heard from a reliable source that my name is missing. This is really embarrassing as a representative. I want to hear from the president but he has refused picking my calls. I intend asking him why my name was omitted for these competitions”.
“They said the athletes went for training program and the athletes’ representative was not carried along and I’m still very active; number 15th in Africa.
Meanwhile, the Technical Representatives GFN, Anthony Asuquo said selections are now done by the president and his cohorts sidelining the technical department of the federation.
He said the coach on the entourage to Tokyo is not a certified and recognized coach by the FIG.
Asuquo alleged that the President Co-opted his family members as members of the board,
“He co-opted members into the board going against the laid down rules. We ought to have a Technical Director but he brought an unknown individual. The President single handedly chose athletes who will represent the country. According to the code of conduct, selection of athletes is to be done by the Technical department”, he said.
Reacting to the selection of the Head Coach, Asuquo said; “The President brought his brother Oni to become a coach. His brother is not even a full head coach of his state (Edo). The current coach is not licensed so if anything happens to an athlete during an event, the ministry and country will be sued”.
“I don’t know why the President will overlook certified coaches in Nigeria and opt for a coach who does not have an age grade certificate for international game. This is not a one man show business, this is for Nigeria. I’m still in Nigeria because I want to walk for my country” an emotional Asuquo said.
He revealed that, “The President used us to achieve his aim, telling us he has programs for the federation. The present national coach engaged by the president (his brother) does not have certificate. The FIG in the World body has the data base of coaches in Nigeria and all over the world”.
On the exclusion of their names from the various championships, Asuquo said; “I’m a professional, the President does not know what he’s doing. Right now, there is no developmental program organized by the federation. He condemned my athletes who won laurels at the South Africa championship and refused the ministry from hosting them. Now, he’s taking my athletes to the commonwealth games”.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, efforts to reach the President Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria, Kelvin Ehizogie were unsuccessful.