Ex-Governor Okowa’s Brother, Tonobok, Who Is Delta Sports Commission Chairman Accused Of Short-changing Delta Queens Football Club Officials By Over N1.1Million Each
Delta Queens football club officials have been short-changed in the payment of their entitlements amounting to N1,132,000 each that was allegedly slashed after the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League for West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B Qualifier in Benin City, Edo State.
Sources told SaharaReporters that the entitlements meant for the officials were reduced by the State Sports Commission’s Chairman, Tonobok Okowa, who is a younger brother of the immediate past governor of the state, Ifeanyi Okowa.
In August, the officials complained about the delay in receiving payments, alleging that their allowances and other entitlements for the competition had been embezzled.
SaharaReporters gathered that the officials and players who arrived at their camp in Benin City, Edo State, on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, spent 17 days there.
However, instead of receiving full payments and entitlements, based on the approval from the state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, the State Sports Commission’s Chairman who is also the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and Africa Athletics Region (Zone 2), West Africa, allegedly short-changed them in the payment of their entitlements in what they described as ‘fraudulent and corrupt’.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, some top officials of the sports commission who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the shortfall of N1,132,000 in the payment of the entitlements of the club officials as an act of ‘wickedness and corruption’.
One of the commission’s officials said, “Since the appointment of the State Sports Commission’s Chairman by his elder brother, immediate past governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, the commission has not had it on a clean slate when it comes to disbursement of finances to athletes and officials.
“Tonobok Okowa has so much enriched himself. As we talk, officials of the Delta Queens football club are not happy because they were short-paid. They spent 17 days in camp but as we talk, they were not paid in full. They were only paid for 8 days as against the 17-day entitlements approved by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori.
“After waiting for some days following the competition which ended on August 30, 2023, they got their pay on Monday, September 4, 2023.
“All the club officials were paid N500,000 each – a flat rate for just 8 days instead of the 17 days approved by the governor. The coaches got about N800,000 which is a shortfall of what Oborevwori, the governor approved. one months salary for July and August plus the first match bonus of N60,000 were paid alongside N20,000 plus, depending on your salary and level in the club.
“These were the mandatory payments which are not supposed to be counted amongst the tournament payment because it was an outstanding the club owed. In the coming days, several financial documents on the commission shall be released for the public to see and be the judge.”
Also confiding in SaharaReporters, a top government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Delta Queens football club got Governor Sheriff Oborevwori’s approval of $120 dollars each for 17 days; that is ($2,040) = N1,632,000 at N800 exchange rate but each official got paid less than a $100 for 8 days.
“If they were paid $100 for the 8 days, the total money would be N640,000. The club officials were duped and there is no way the morale of the officials and players can be boosted with corrupt practices such as this. In the sports commission’s proposal of about N169 million to the governor, they had N120 million approved by the governor.
“Some excesses like an unrealistic number of supporters (fans), allowances for board members which had been dissolved and some other unnecessary expenses were taken off from the proposal by the governor but allowances were not slashed. Despite the approval, the commission paired both players and most of the officials in the rooms they were lodged.
“Kits were not given to officials, they made use of old ones. They have three coaches and each coach was paid about N800,000 which is about $1,000 dollars each. The players are off for 10 days and non-players have five days off. There is an underground plan to drop some players and officials following SaharaReporters‘ story that exposed the corruption in the commission.”
Tonobok Okowa was contacted for comments but did not answer his calls nor reply to the text messages sent to his mobile phone at the time of filing this report.
He, however, sent some people to appeal to SaharaReporters not to use the story.