The Delateur Foundation, a non-governmental organization, petitioned Sports and Youth Development Minister Sunday Dare about displays of violence and irregularities that marred a recent Nigeria Taekwondo Board election.
In the petition signed by Yemi Adeyemi-Enilari, its chairman, the group criticized the decision of the electoral committee of the board of directors to cancel the exercise when Osita Egwim clearly won the ballot.
Egwim had contested the post of technical representative of the board of directors against Sani Lawal and John Victor.
According to the group, Lawal would have invited “strange boys” into the election hall to disrupt the exercise, feeling that he was losing the ballot.
The group said the boys, led by Chukwuebuka Ogbodo John of the Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF), attempted to grab the ballot boxes, causing heated drama.
He said the incident prompted the board’s decision to order a new election.
Videos obtained by SaharaReporters show how the election venue became rowdy as parties clashed.
The petition reads: “We are a non-profit organization registered in Nigeria, among others; our goals are: youth empowerment, youth development, social reforms and social development.
“In addition, we have been involved in taekwondo and interested in the development of sport in Nigeria and we have particularly looked into some thorny issues, even disputes involving taekwondo and practitioners in Nigeria.
“Therefore, we were particularly interested in the election and called the current secretary, Mr. Kabir (0803 370 1344) on September 18, 2021 at 8:36 pm, the call lasted 1 min 48 sec) from 0803 352 4949.
“We informed him of our interest in Taekwondo and the elections, and for this reason, we sent representatives to monitor all the elections, and in particular the one held in Abuja on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.
“It’s like what happened was recorded by our representative who monitored this election; “The elections were to start at noon. The electoral commission arrived an hour late. Around 12:40, we are told to come
inside to start accreditation. It didn’t start for at least 40 minutes.
“It started, all the representatives (representatives) available at the time, accredited — 25 athletes, 22 coaches. We asked for the election to begin, but the senior officer went to pray for almost an hour. Upon his return, accreditation was “officially” closed.
“Soon after, a crowd of boys came and asked for accreditation. Only 2 forms were observed. The crowd present rejected, seeing that the accreditation was closed, and even a person who came earlier was rejected. Election officials tried to convince and preach peace that the “new” people could vote.
“The crowd didn’t agree at all. He asked that there be a vote on it, it is done. The majority voted that the new people would not be accredited.
“The elections started with the vote of the technical representatives, two coaches did not vote because they left the room in the middle of the vote. Sani Lawal (who was running for the post of technical representative against Osita Egwim) and John Victor.
“It should be added that Mr. Sani Lawal was seen introducing the said strange boys upon their arrival. As the elections for technical representatives (representatives) drew to a close and seemed like a landslide victory for Osita Egwim, the Strange Boys, led by the only recognizable, Chukwuebuka Ogbodo John of CCSF (Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation), also a student at Abuja University, went to get the ballot boxes and tried to leave the room with them. They were not allowed to leave with it, but election officials, now shaken, decided to call off the elections.
“What is curious is how the electoral committee and the secretary gave no assurances that the postponed elections would continue with the same 25 accredited athletes and 22 accredited coaches. Remaking the elections on a fresh note is an obvious red flag and an unfair act, and also given most of the trips from different parts of the country to Abuja for the elections.
“Please find enclosed with this petition a compact disc containing videos and images of certain acts and scenes.”