As I started this blog a year ago, I made it clear that I would write without fear or favour and would at all times maintain that issues here are strictly mine and mine alone. I do have a right to my opinion and the will guard that right jealously. However, I owe it a civic responsibility to make sure that stories that I publish (whether sourced from me or not) are factual and balanced. It is on this note that I reviewed some stories I had earlier published on the AFN abuse of power and decided there should be a balanced report and facts be put out.
After reviewing the story and making some personal investigations, I have decided that this one in particular needs to be clarified. The AFN technical director, Omotseye Nesiama is indeed a bonafide athlete’s representative.
My investigations and contacts in Monaco actually reveal that Nesiama was qualified and licensed by the IAAF as an Athletes Representative after passing the prescribed exams on first attempt with distinction on 7th Dec 13. He scored 46 out of 48 in the IAAF supervised examination held in London. He thus successfully concluded rather circumventing any of the process. He got an IAAF congratulations for the feat achieved. This actually made him the first Nigerian that has qualified through this newly introduced process in one attempt. We do have other recognized Nigerian athlete’s representatives like Olapade Adenikan in the IAAF records.
Nesiama was commended recently by the Sports Minister for this and this was appropriately conveyed to his military constituency accordingly.
On getting this information, I put in call to the AFN technical director and he clarified to me that one of the reasons for going into management of Athletes is to better guide our athletes in their professional career and protect them from those Shylock managers lurking around our unsuspecting athletes.
This I personally think is a good idea and we should applaud and encourage him for that. I should point out here that the license of an Athletes’ Representative is like any other professional license like that of the pharmacist whose license is required to set up a Pharmacy.
I also put issues of blackmail of athletes to sign with him and the issues of conflict of interest in running the affairs of the federation.
He assured me that there is no conflict as he has not even fully started operations yet but the few they were beginning negotiation with were from Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, and the USA. Some Nigerians would come on board but for now there were no deals yet. He denied using his position to blackmail or force any athlete to signing. He was very clear that nobody or Representative firm can force or threaten any athlete to signing. It would be nice to name or hear from any of the athletes that have been contracted by this group that complains of being short-changed or monies collected against their wishes. The IAAF even has clauses contained in the Athletes Representatives Regulations to deal with such unethical issues that anyone could cite to seek redress. It is when such comes to the fore, then we can engage in our criticisms.
While I would be the first to accept an error in publication and tender my unreserved apology, I insist my reports are done objectively in the interest of the sports and not to disparage our sports administrators for no just cause.
Well personally I don’t think it is out of place for Nigerians to dare into other novel areas that would help to make the management of track and field and indeed athletes in Nigeria better and more competitive. I do believe that there would not be double standard and this would be a venture where Nigerians would stand tall and be proud once more. My visit to Jamaica a year ago revealed that when everything is home grown, success would be guaranteed. It’s the Jamaican way and so we should try that. The Jamaican have home grown managers, clubs, athletes and coaches. While the naval officer has made big strong positive strides in getting Nigeria to have our own IAAF recognized home grown manager, it comes at a time where the AFN are now employing foreign coaches, advisers and even…athletes.