After one week of deliberations, the probe panel set up by the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare to investigate the unimpressive performance of Team Nigeria at the 2019 World Athletics Championship in Doha submitted its reports yesterday in Abuja.
The eight-man panel headed by a former board member of the AFN, Prof. Ken Anugweje, was given seven days to investigate ‘the avoidable massive and unacceptable technical and administrative lapses’ that embarrassed the nation in Doha.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, a member of the panel said: “We have been able to examine the facts and establish the truth in accordance with the mandate given to us by the sports minister. We submitted the reports about 10 minutes ago, and it is now left for the sports minister to make our recommendations public or take action. It is not our duty to do so.”
Pressed further, the panel member revealed that they were able to obtain ‘major facts’ from athletes and coaches, who were in Team Nigeria’s contingent to Doha. “A lot of people came to testify before the panel, and we were able to speak with some top athletes through whatsapp video and other devices. We actually got to the roots of some of the issues affecting Nigerian athletics and we made recommendations accordingly. As I said, everything is now in the hands of the sports minister,” the member stated.
Some of the athletes, who represented Nigeria at Doha 2019 World Athletics Championship, have urged the sports minister to make recommendations of the probe panel public as quickly as possible.
One of them, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday said: “When this probe panel was set up last week, it was made public to all Nigerians. If the sports minister actually wants to save Nigerian athletics from the hands of some individuals, he should make the recommendations public as soon as possible.”
Another athlete said: “I have faith in the panel because the members have good reputation. I am sure they must have done a great job. Maybe, this will expose the rot in the AFN and put us on the right track to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”