Over 600 Nigerian chess players have petitioned FIDE, chess world governing body, appealing for urgent intervention in the current face-off between President of the Nigeria Chess Federation Olalekan Adeyemi and several groups of chess players, administrators, and organisers in the country.
Players, under the platform of the Chess Players Association of Nigeria, Thursday called for the removal of Adeyemi.
According to the petition – a copy of which was published on the website www.change.org – several aggrieved members of the Nigerian chess community accused the NCF president of high-handedness, abuse of office, extortion and pursuit of personal vendetta, to the overall detriment of the game.
The players alleged that they had been subjected to various instances of abuse of power by Adeyemi, the most being his refusal, as the rating officer, to rate tournaments except organisers and players paid N5,000 each (approximately €12.5), which they said FIDE did not mandate for any federation.
Olabisi Rabiu, a chess player, who signed the petition, said, “I was banned from anything that has to do with chess in Nigeria because I participated at the 2014 Zone 4.4 tournament in Cameroon, and for sponsoring my son to the 2017 African Youth Chess Championship in Egypt in 2017.”
Another player Sulaiman Osunkoya, said, “The NCF is run by one man, the NCF president, who is also a FIDE vice president and the rating officer for Nigeria. No national tournament organised by the NCF in at least four years. He (Adeyemi) fails to acknowledge the tournament organised by private individuals, frustrating their efforts. Players are also being victimised for attending foreign tournaments. The progress of Nigerian chess and its players are being sabotaged by the administration and it has to stop.”
“I am signing because of the bad administration and the number of the tournament that has been refused to be rated by the so-called NCF,” Okeke Isaac said.
Babajide Mojeed added that “chess needs breathe of new life. The current NCF president has to go.”
Another chess player Jonathan Odjeigu with FIDE ID 8509425 said, “Please Nigeria chess needs a change.”
Our correspondent sent a text message to Adeyemi requesting for a conversation with him, but he replied with a text, “Please speak with my media officer, I am on transit at the moment.”
The NCF media officer, SalemFly Salem, said, “The petition signed was by an aggrieved party who want things done their way.”
On the money allegation, Salem said the N5, 000 payment was necessary.
“Though not mandated by FIDE, every federation has the right to run their administration. The government is not the one funding the chess federation, hence, the need to raise money is necessary. How can you go into a tournament without registration? They organise tournaments without proper documentation and approval. How do they expect NCF to rate that?
“They (players) must learn to respect authority and they are free to make their grievances known.”
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