In a shocking revelation on Wednesday in Calabar, President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) stated categorically that ExxonMobil had never sponsored the All Nigeria athletics championship but had supported it as a corporate social responsibility programme.
He also said that the partnership with Cross River State is the first time the AFN will have a sponsor, explaining that the Cross River State Government agreed on all the issues in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) while the sponsorship for the five uninterrupted years will gulp N250 million as the N50 million for this year's edition has been received.
The President regretted that some Nigeria athletes had changed nationality and looked for greener pasture elsewhere because the nation had no programme for them.
He added that the trend is gradually going down due to the role of AFN while advising that one should look beyond funding as some countries not as rich as Nigeria have invested hugely in sports as well as celebrated their athletes which shows a lesson on patriotism.
Ogba reasoned that it was high time the sports Ministry was placed on the executive list like other ministries like Health and Education because of its capability to lift the image of the country while calling for the upliftment of Athletics because it has promoted the country more than any other sports.
Why Cross Rivers?
Ogba also gave reasons why the federation decided to chose Calabar as the host state for the competition.
The AFN President disclosed that the federation considered Calabar when the offer came from the state government because most of the foreign-based Nigerian athletes are comfortable with the city when they visited last year as there was no kidnapping while its reputation is very high.
Moreover, he added that the state has developed a futuristic programme to develop talents because one of the problems affecting sports development in the country is the absence of a clear cut and articulate road map and as such he saw the decision of Cross River State as welcome idea which falls in line with the vision of the federation.