The Nigerian Association of Women In Sports (NAWIS) thursday said it was unflinching in its support for Rosa Collins as its representative on the board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
In a statement signed by Prof. Marian Suleiman, the NAWIS Secretary-General, the Association protested moves by some individuals to substitute Collins name with that of Gloria Obajimi as its representative on the board.
It totally condemned the maltreatment and injustice meted out to Collins “by some unprogressive individuals who were bent on seeing that AFN remains stagnant’’.
Collins was attacked and battered by some unnamed individuals during the AFN board elections, which took place at the Abuja National Stadium alongside those of other National Sports Federations.
But it was not just the attack, there was a connivance to substitute Collins name with that of Obajimi, when the latter did not take part in the elections held in Abuja earlier.
“This is the handiwork of those provoked by the enthusiasm and willingness of Rosa Collins to make a positive impact in AFN. Hence they attacked and battered her during the National Sports Federation Elections.
“But it is instructive that NAWIS had held the election of her representative on the National Sports Federation Boards as stipulated by Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development guidelines.
“The election was supervised Bode Durotoye, a Deputy Director in the Ministry, who was assigned to do that by the Ministry.
“It was Rosa Collins who won the election and her name was forwarded to the Ministry.
“But, to our dismay, Rosa Collins name was substituted with that of Gloria Obajimi who was out of the country when NAWIS held its election of representatives and therefore did not participate.
“Moreover, she (Obajimi) was however very much aware of the election, but she did not participate,’’ Suleiman said in the statement.
She said it was rather unfortunate that while NAWIS duly obeyed the guidelines which did not permit voting for someone who was absent, some individuals were now trying to allow undemocratic actions to prevail.
“We can all recall that the Honourable Minister of Sports had earlier emphasised that transparency and democracy must prevail in the National Sports Federation Elections, and NAWIS duly adhered to this.
“So, it is Collins’ right to claim the mandate given to her by NAWIS through a democratic election,’’ the NAWIS secretary-general said.
The Association then called on the Minister of Youths and Sports to reprimand all those involved in the manipulation and substitution of Collins’ name with that of Obajimi.
“The injustice must be adequately addressed. Nigeria must depart from injustice and lack of progress in sports.
“NAWIS reaffirms that Rosa Collins is the person duly elected to represent it and its members on the AFN Board.
“We also call on well-meaning Nigerians to condemn the beating and battering of Collins, and join us in ensuring she is allowed to further contribute her quota to sports development in Nigeria,’’ the NAWIS secretary-general said.