“You have done soÂ Â much for track and field in this country that I have come, on behalf of the board, to say â€˜Thank youâ€™ and to assure you that we will always endeavour to build on the blocks of your sponsorship.â€
This, was the openingÂ sentence of the newly elected President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Chief Solomon Ogba, when he paid a courtesy call on the management of NNPC and Mobil Producing Nigeria last Thursday.
The courtesy call which coincided with a meeting called to plan for this yearâ€™s Nigeria NNPC/Mobil Athletics Championship, saw the former sports commissioner in Delta State appreciating the oil giant for what will turn out to be twenty years of unbroken partnership with AFN.
â€œI bring greetings from a board that is committed to doing things right. We have come to thank you for keeping faith with this project for 20 years. We are also here to promise value for your money. Any sponsor who spends money and does not get value for his or her money is a discouraged sponsor.
â€œThe All Nigeria Open is our biggest competition, it is the one that prepares our athletes for the Olympics, World Championship and All Africa Games among others, so we do not toy with itâ€, he said.
He also took the opportunity to outline some of the plans of his board and emphasised that the issue of drugs will be treated with the seriousness it deserves. â€œWe have zero tolerance for drugs and will warn those athletes and their managers who delight in such practice to steer clear.â€
In his response, Mr. Yemi Fakayejo, Public Affairs Advisor MPN, thanked Chief Ogba and the AFN for what he believed will be a new lease of life for athletics in the country.