Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development John Owan Enoh on Friday (November 24 ) met with the President of Africa Boxing Confederation (AFBC) Eyassu Wossen Berhanu in his office in Abuja during which they both discussed important issues pertaining to boxing development in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Berhanu is in Nigeria to forge unity in the trouble-torn boxing federation in which the President, Lt General Kenneth Minimah and some members of his executive have been embroiled in a bitter disagreement with the federation’s vice-president Azania Omo-Agege on Nigeria Boxing Federation’s decision to affiliate with the newly-formed World Boxing, viewed as a rival body to the main world governing boxing organisation, International Boxing Association (IBA).
While Azania quashed the announcement insisting the federation was still with IBA, President Lt Gen Minimah watered down Azania’s proclamation when he confirmed they had joined World Boxing.
Seemingly annoyed by the Nigerian boxing federation’s decision to decamp to World Boxing, IBA slapped a 90-day suspension on Minimah whom they accused of flouting their constitution.
Assuming the office of the President was vacant, Azania took over as the NBF Interim President but not for long. No sooner had he declared himself the head of the federation than Lt Gen Minimah suspended him for alleged impersonation and other malpractices.
Berhanu has made it clear he’s not in Nigeria to tackle the issue of the federation’s affiliation with World Boxing but to forge unity and bring back sanity in NBF as the boss of Africa boxing.
“My concern is only on Africa boxing as the President and make sure there’s harmony in the federation as I embark on my journey to change the face of Africa boxing through professional management of boxing not only in Nigeria but the rest of the National Federations which have for long been a bastion of corruption, mismanagement and incompetency.
“I’m sounding a warning to all corrupt leaders in Africa boxing, your days are numbered because I’m on an unstoppable mission to clean up the dirt and get rid of incompetent and corrupt leaders whose only interest is to use our boxers to satisfy their selfish interests completely ignoring their achievements as well as hardships our talented boxers undergo especially during training,” said Berhanu.
“They either shape up or ship out. They’ll be no more piggy-back rides for lazy and greedy officials. We must all work hard to achieve our objectives. It’s the dawn of a new era in Africa boxing, and I will work closely with my Board of Directors to restore sanity and dignity to Africa boxing.
“I’m here primarily to serve the boxers’ interests. Our boxers must be respected, appreciated and benefit from their sweat in the ring.”
Berhanu remained non-committal on the main issues discussed in his meeting with the Sports Minister but said it was a “very fruitful meeting” in which they touched on matters of mutual interest mostly revolving around unity of purpose and boxing development in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
“I take this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Sports Minister, John Enoh for giving me audience to share with him my vision for Africa boxing and the need to foster unity among our national federations because without teamwork we can’t realise our goals,” said Berhanu who has has started work barely a week after being declared the new AFBC President through acclamation in the Extraordinary Congress held on November 18 at the iconic Africa Union headquarters building in Addis Ababa.
Credit: AFBC Communications