AFN Election:Tony Okowa’s Presidential Bid a New Era For Athletes In Nigeria.

———Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe

By Wilson Macaulay
Warri

Success does not come through wishful thinking, it is achieved via the activation of skills, strategic steps taken coupled with intense prayers. Success is not cheap.

In the same vein, victory is a product of a deliberate effort to excel, adequate preparations, doing the needful at the right time and supported tenaciously with targeted prayers and strong determination.

Chief Tony Okowa, has recorded numerous victories and astonishing successes in sports management and administration in Delta State, and by extension Nigeria. He is well known in the world of sports as a team player, well focused to achieve goals, and have consistently proved his worth as a go getter with intimidating performance profile and pleasant personality.

He has been around the sports arena for good reasons, and he currently head the Delta State Sports Commission Board as Chairman, since the inception of Okowa administration in 2015 till date, and still counting.

Okowa, it was who worked so hard with his board and management team at the Sports glass house, to place Delta in the number one position in the world of sports in Nigeria, especially in Athletics. For us in Delta, we have many reasons to support him to become the next President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, AFN, come June 14, 2021.

His tenure as Chairman of the state sports commission, gave rise to several sports infrastructure development in the state; including the completion and commissioning of the now famous Stephen Keshi International Stadium in Asaba; the rebranding of the state football clubs known as the Warri Wolves and Delta Queens, as well as the training and retraining of the States athletes and officials.

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Tonobok, as he is fondly called by sports lovers, ensured that the State Athletes were consistently trained and groomed for national and regional competitions. His genuine efforts paid off as the state contingent now pride itself as reigning national champions, for three consecutive time, including the last national sports festival held in Edo State.

From available records and data, Tony Okowa have in the past almost three decades exhibited strong passion for the development of sports infrastructure and professional Athletes skills. He has been and still in the forefront of the national advocacy for better pay, adequate welfare packages for the wellbeing and improved remunerations for athletes, footballers and officials in Nigeria.

He has over the years played multifaceted roles in sports development, working very closely with the former President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Chief Solomon Ogba, known to be one of the finest breeds in sports administration and management in the country and beyond.

The duo of Okowa and Ogba, worked so hard with few hours of sleep, to ensure the huge success of the CAA’s 21st African Senior Athletic Championship, hosted by Delta State Government in 2018, tagged CAA Asaba 2018.

It follows that Tonobok, has the mental capacity, wealth of experience and required visionary leadership to take up national and regional assignments in sports in Nigeria and Africa; which is why, it is safe to assert that if elected the next President of AFN, he will bring to bear his innovative, result oriented strategies and motivational team work approach to improve on the fortunes of the Athletics body in Nigeria.

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There are four major aspirants in the race for the AFN top job; Tony Okowa and three others, and from all indications, the pendulum is swinging in favour of our multiple champion Chairman, a man with penchant for great accomplishments and development of sports infrastructure, and have tremendously influenced the professional skills of youth in Delta State, and by extension Nigeria.

He is on a mission to lead a proactive team to bring about uncommon transformation in AFN, through peace building, collaborative efforts, public and private partnership, reconciliation of all pending vexed issues, and above all, he will attract huge sponsorship deals for AFN, aimed at placing the nation’s Athletics Federation far and above her contemporaries in the African continent.

The front line aspirant’s top priority will be to champion the cause for the upward review of salaries and remunerations of the nation’s athletes, officials, coaches and managers, so as to encourage greater youth participation in sports. Tonobok termed his mission; “Better days of great fortunes for Athletes and Officials in Nigeria,” if elected President of AFN in Abuja, on June 14, 2021.

It is also a common knowledge that Tony Okowa, is a core insider in the affairs of AFN, and has indicated willingness to use his privileged position, if elected, to bring all stakeholders on board as co-labourers in his strong determination to take the Federation to an enviable height. He vowed to immediately unit all factions and bring them together under one united AFN, devoid of rancour and bitterness.

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His enviable work profile in sports administration and management is yielding positive results, as available evidence revealed that among the contestants, Tonobok’s popularity soared amazingly; a strong indication that he is likely to emerge as AFN president. And it is our collective prayers, wishes and aspirations that our own champion Chairman emerge victorious and take the mantle of leadership at AFN, and God will take all the Glory!

There is a popular Japanese saying; “Good thinking, good products,” and Tony Okowa, is certainly a good thinker, tested and trusted in sports administration, capable of piloting the affairs of AFN to the next higher level in the country. He was one time acting Chairman of Weight Lifting Federal of Nigeria, and his landmark achievements attests to his unblemished service to our country, Nigeria.

We strongly appeal to all the States Delegates including the FCT, to do the nation’s Athletics Federation some measure of good, by voting enmass for this great sports administrator, multiple champion Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, as the next president.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is the governing body for the sport of Athletics in Nigeria, an affiliated member of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) and World Athletics.

About the Writer: Dr Barr Fred Latimore oghenesivbe, JP, is a sports enthusiast and Executive Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Communications.

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