Delateur Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has petitioned the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, over exhibition of violence and irregularities that marred a recent election of the Nigeria Taekwondo Board.
In the petition signed by Yemi Adeyemi-Enilari, its chairman, the group faulted the decision of the board’s electoral committee to cancel the exercise when Osita Egwim was clearly winning the poll.
Egwim had contested for the position of the board’s technical representative against Sani Lawal and John Victor.
According to the group, Lawal allegedly invited “strange boys” into the election hall to disrupt the exercise, sensing he was losing the poll.
The group said the boys, led by Chukwuebuka Ogbodo John of Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF), attempted to snatch the ballot box, leading to heated drama.
It said the incident resulted in the board’s decision to order a fresh election.
Videos obtained by SaharaReporters show how the venue of the election turned rowdy as parties confronted one another.
The petition reads: “We are a registered non-profit making organisation in Nigeria, amongst other things; our objectives are the following: Youth empowerment, Youth development, Social reforms, and Social development.
“Also, we have been involved in Taekwondo and interested in the development of the sport in Nigeria and have particularly waded in in on some knotty issues, even litigation involving Taekwondo and practitioners in Nigeria.
“Because of this, we took particular interest in the election and put a call through to the current secretary, Mr Kabir (0803 370 1344) on September 18th 2021 at 8.36pm, the call lasted for 1min 48 secs) from 0803 352 4949.
“We notified him of our interest in Taekwondo and the elections, and because of this, we sent representatives to monitor all elections, and with particular reference to the one that held in Abuja on Tuesday, 21st September 2021.
“This was as what transpired was recorded by our representative who monitored that election; “Elections were to begin by noon. The electoral committee came an hour late. At about 12:40, we were told to come
inside to begin accreditation. It did not begin for at least another 40 minutes.
“It began, all reps (representatives) available at the time, accredited—25 athletes, 22 coaches. We asked that the election should begin but the main officer went to pray for almost an hour. By the time he returned, the accreditation had been ‘officially’ closed.
“Not long after, a crowd of boys came and demanded to be accredited. Only 2 forms were seen. The crowd present rejected, seeing that accreditation had closed, and even one person who came earlier had been rejected. The election officers tried to convince and preach peace that the ‘new’ people could vote.
“It was majorly disagreed on by the crowd. He asked that there was a vote on it, it was done. The majority voted that the new folks would not be accredited.
“The elections began with the technical rep (representative) vote, two coaches did not vote because they left the hall in the middle of the voting. Sani Lawal (who was contesting for the position of technical rep against Osita Egwim), and John Victor.
“It must be added that Mr Sani Lawal was seen ushering the said strange boys in when they came in. As the technical rep (representative) elections drew to a close and seemed like an obvious landslide victory for Osita Egwim, the strange boys, led by the only recognisable one, Chukwuebuka Ogbodo John of CCSF (Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation), also a student of University of Abuja, went for the ballot boxes and attempted to leave the hall with them. They were not allowed to leave with it, but the now shaken electoral officials decided to cancel the elections.
“What is curious is how the electoral committee and secretary have given no assurances about the rescheduled elections continuing with the same 25 accredited athletes, and 22 accredited coaches. Redoing the elections on a fresh note is an obvious red flag, and unfair act, and also considering most travel from different parts of the country to Abuja for the elections.
“Please find attached to this petition a compact disc containing videos and pictures of some of the acts and scenes.”
SaharaReporters, New York