Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sanchi panel: Letter to Mrs. Gloria Obajimi

Female athletes: were they too sexually assaulted?
My dear sister (we are not related), you had been an athlete, you are a mother and as President of the National Association of Women in Sports (NAWIS), you are a lecturer of sports and a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria. From this brief alone, you owe yourself, Nigeria and humanity a duty to be protective especially female athlete.
Ekiba (not her real name), a female athlete, a middle distance runner, a teenager and a Muslim. Like many of us who worked hard from the hard surface of earth, from a poor home but well brought up by our parents. She represented Nigeria in a world championship.
Ekiba as a child returns home to report to you as a parent that her ‘coach’ told her that for her to be fluid enough to run well like those world champions, she would need to sleep with him. How would you react? The athlete, upon saying no was charged for opening her mouth too wide instead of opening her legs wide and asked to come for persecution by officials of the federation. Won’t you go borrow money and asked her to travel nine hours by road, accommodate and feed herself to prove she is right?
For any reason, they shelved the trial. She insisted not to stop training on your instructions and months later, she had improved her timing in Calabar at the national athletics trial. By merit, she qualified for the world junior athletics championship but her name disappeared from the list. Won’t you ask questions?
Weeks later, another athlete, Esther, adult, banker, a Christian alleged she was asked by the same Federation officials for bribe to enable her represent Nigeria in the Olympics. Then, suddenly, there was a ministerial committee to look at the matter. How would you feel as a parent? Won’t you ask, between the two allegations of the athletes, which is more grievous?
Question two: I think you as a board member of the AFN whose agency is an accused in the Esther Obiekwe-gate, sitting on the Sanchi panel is a misnomer. You are an accused and prosecutor in your own case. This is against modicum and decorum.
If for any reason, Esther Obiekwe is not satisfied with the Sanchi panel report, she should be able to run to NAWIS for support. Since you as NAWIS President is on the panel, the door is closed against her. Therefore, it is a lose-lose situation for her, the generation of the courageous that will want to speak out on any matter that is unjust in Nigerian sports especially if such a person is a female athlete.
Whatever is the case, what is the outcome of the Sanchi panel report? Nigerians want to see where you people are standing on that matter. However, the Mobil prize money saga unpaid to athletes till this day by the same federation alleged to be in your care (directly or otherwise) remains a dark scar which should not have warranted you to accept to sit on that panel.
How much is the quality of justice we are expecting from the panel in view of these? God bless Nigeria. Will you pray to God and expect the owner of heaven and earth (olorun, in Yoruba language) to answer you with the logs you have in your own eyes while you try to remove the speck in the eye of the next man by you?

Tomorrow: Join me here to read about the compelling reasoning Chukwuemeka life ban: conspiracies, truth and the untold sides of Mafioso. Too revealing. Don’t miss it!

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