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Monday, 6 April 2015

History of Archery in Nigeria

In 1996 we decided to bring Archery to Nigeria when some Nigerians; myself - Olatunji, and late Jim Obot - who was the major developer of Powerlifting Sport in Nigeria, saw the values of Archery as a major Olympic event.  

The two men sent a letter through Grand National Archery of UK to the FITA (now World Archery) seeking for affiliation  and as a result of the letter, in 1997 we were given a temporary three years affiliation free membership.

Following that, another meeting was held under the auspices of Mr. B. A. Orodele (NUGA Secretary General) in room 216 of National Institute for Sports (Nisports). At the meeting, Orodele advised us to  meet some dignitaries and, that advice led us to meet Major General Ishola Williams (Rtd) to help us establish a Federation and also with expectation to make  him (the General) our president. But surprisingly, he declined the proposal and suggested Dr. Niran Adeniji (Ex Badminton President) to preside on the Federation. 

Another letter was sent to the World Archery directly by Dr. Adeniji seeking to establish a formidable Archery Federation in Nigeria, and as a result of that, the Federation was found in 1998 and the inaugural meeting was held on Tuesday 17th February, 1998 at Oshinkanlu Close, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. At that meeting Five temporary Executives were appointed i.e. Dr. Niran Adeniji - President, Prof Makanju - Vice President, Mrs. Helen Oladipo - Secretary, and Olatunji Gbenga - Chairman of Technical.

On 27th May, 1999 the first elections where executives were elected was conducted at the Boardroom of the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the following executives were elected:

Dr. Niran Adeniji      -     President, 
Prof Makanju            -    1st Vice President, 
Mr. Adelowo F.A     -     2nd Vice President
Mrs. Helen Oladipo  - Secretary (Now Mrs. Helen Osaiynwem)
Mr. Okrodus Godfrey - PRO
Mr. Keshinro Babatunde - Treasurer 
Mr. Olatunji Gbenga - Chairman of Technical.

The first Archery Workshop was held at the National Institute for Sports, Lagos from Saturday 26th to 30th of June 1999. The workshop was conducted by Mr. Andrew Geno Omalla; the FITA resource person from Uganda. Mr. Omalla was the President of the Ugandan Archery Federation and, the workshop was strictly for development of Archery in Nigeria. At the workshop many members that joined Archery learned the basic fundamental skills of Archery and received certificates as such. 
Gloria Obajimi
Dr. Mrs. Gloria Obajimi of Nisports.

However, during his tenure (Dr. Niran Adeniji) in year 2000; three Nigerians participated in Olympic Games qualifiers in South Africa, among them, two were  sponsored by World Archery (WA) namely: Mrs. (now Dr.) Gloria Obajimi now Nisports Registrar and Mr. Boluji Olatunji, while Afolabi Dokunmu sponsored himself. 

Furthermore, WA sent Boluji to Kenya in 2004 to attend I.O.C Solidarity Coaching Course and also gave Nigeria 12 standard bows, through the then Chairman of DTAC of Africa in person of Mr Andrew Omalla from Uganda. 

Archery was demonstrated in Nigeria at the occasions of 10th National Sports Festival (Bauchi 2000) and at Edo 2004.

After that, there was no any other activity by the federation for some time and that led to the establishment of the Archery Academy at Anwar Islam College Agege by Boluji in early 2005 after the National Sports Festival held in Benin City,  and in that same year 2005, archery was included in that school games (inter house sports games) and following that, archery was demonstrated at the National Primary and Secondary School Sports Festival in 2006, at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.

In 2009 the Federation was suspended due to failure to pay affiliation fees and lacked of participation in active archery at home and abroad.

 In early 2011 the Federation regained her affiliation from World Archery (WA) while the following officers  served as interim executives: Dr. Felix Okugbe (now late) as President, Mr. Bola Orodele as the V/President, Mr.Boluji Olatunji as Secretary General, Mr. Lucky Izekor as the Technical Director, Mr. Badmus Adeleke, Mr. Tom Oniovo and Mr Frank Ilaboya as Directors, while Barr. Bayo Lawanson served as the legal adviser. 
In 2012 two coaches participated in I.O.C Solidarity Coaching Course: Boluji Olatunji and Izekor Lucky and three archers: namely; Florence Ogunkoya, Adisa Rahmon and Sunday Ogundeji at 4th TIZOCATA (West Africa Archery Championship) in Benin Republic and won the first ever 2 medals in archery (2 bronze) for Nigeria.

In 2013 the Federation was given recognition by the Nigeria Olympic Committee after a letter written to them. 

Felix Okugbe
Late Dr. Felix Osagie Okugbe
In 2014, Felix Okugbe brewed a crisis that almost engulf the federation and that crisis led to the emergence returned of Dr. Niran Adeniji; the former elected Archery Federation of Nigeria (AFON) President from politics and even though in the presence of that particular crisis, Dr. Adeniji starts putting live into archery as he organized Archery workshop and 1st ever Open Archery Invitational Championship at University of Lagos. The programme attracted non students and many students from Yaba College of Technology and University of Lagos 

Once again Nigeria Archery Federation was suspended on May 5th, 2015, by the World Archery because of the conflict between the two parties - Dr. Okugbe's party and Dr. Adeniji's party.

It got to a stage that Hons. T. Popoola; Secretary General of  Nigeria Olympic Committee seems unable to resolve the matter.

Thanks to the World Archery in their wisdom to sent a mediator to Nigeria in person of Mr. Al Yousof Bayjoh. Bayjoh is the World Archery Africa V/President and the Mauritian Archery Federation President, He is also the Asst. Treasurer, Mauritius Olympic Committee. He held series of meetings here in Nigeria and resolved the crisis before he left back to his country after two weeks in Nigeria. 

But before his departure; he appointed committee of seventeen members, including one representative of the National Sports Ministry to draft a constitution for a new beginning for Nigeria Archery Federation. He however, stated that Mr. Olatunji and Dr. Okugbe were recognized as the Secretary General and President respectively, until election for a new beginning is held.

Following that, a document to that effect was signed between Mr. Olatunji, Dr. Okugbe, Mr. Omorondion;  (Sports Ministry representative), Hons. Popoola; NOC Secretary General, and Mr. Bajou; the WA mediator.
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