Scramble for sponsorship money not good for AFN board, says Olopade
Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), board members have been advised to put their differences aside and concentrate on building a formidable squad for the nation, particularly, as the countdown begins for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management, Bukola Olopade, who also AFN’s chief marketing consultant, yesterday, described the rumour of scramble for sponsorship money by some board members as unhealthy for the federation.
There have been uneasy calm within the AFN family since last week following an online publication, titled ‘AFN Congress gives board power to convene meetings,’ which suggested that some board members were plotting against AFN President, Tonobok Okowa, over monies realised from sponsorship.
But Olopade, who spoke from London, cleared the air about AFN’s sponsorship,. He said: “It is unfortunate that some of the board members are accusing Okowa wrongly over issues he knows nothing about. I heard this rumour of some of the members scrambling for sponsorship money before I traveled out of Nigeria, and I have expressed my disappointment with some of them.
“In the first place, AFN does not have a contract with Premium Trust Bank; rather, it was my company, Nilayo Sports, that signed a sponsorship deal with them (Premium Trust Bank).
“As the Chief Marketing Consult to AFN, we (Nilayo Sports) signed a three-year-sponsorship pact on behalf of Premium Trust Bank with the AFN. Money that comes from the sponsorship deal is not given to any individual. It is tied to competitions.
“In other words, the AFN will have to write to Premium Trust Bank, through Nilayo Sports, for money to be released for major competitions, including the World Athletics Championships.
“Nilayo Sports Management is not happy with the unnecessary rumour of scramble for sponsorship money going on within the AFN board. We are doing our best to position the AFN to meet its financial challenges and some people are trying to make things difficult for us. It is not good. As far as I am concerned, Chief Tonobok Okowa usually goes extra miles before he gets money to sponsor the athletes to competitions. I doubt if he will be able to recover all his money back. He needs encouragement from the board members.”
The Guardian recalls that Premium Trust Bank, in the last one year, has impacted so much on the nation’s athletics, particularly, with the sponsorship of the duo of Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume, as well as its role during the last National Sports Festival held in Asaba, Delta State.