Nigeria: AFN in Turmoil As Factional Group Suspends Gusau

(file photo)
4 December 2019

... I remain AFN president

The crisis rocking the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, took an ugly turn yesterday following the suspension of the president, Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau and removal of Sunday Adeleye as Technical Director and Athletes Representative by a faction of the board.

Arising from a board meeting held at the AFN secretariat in Abuja, the faction noted the violation of the Athletics federation's constitution by the President who allegedly usurped the powers and functions of the Secretary-General by changing the password of the AFN email account as well as entering an agreement with sportswear giants, Puma without formal documentation.

In the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the aggrieved board members also frowned at Gusau's refusal to pay athletes, coaches and other officials' allowances or not pay in full at major international competitions.

"Athletes who also attended the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan in May 2019 have not also been paid while those who attended the IAAF World Championships in Doha have not been paid in full," the communiqué said.

The board members therefore resolved that "the President should step aside for an investigation to be conducted over his infractions and the vice president will act in his absence."

The Board also announced Brown Ebewele as theTechnical Director of the federation while Mr Okon Gabriel is the new Performance Director.

Board member at the meeting included Hon. Olamide George who was appointed acting president, Gabriel Okon, DIG Sani Mohammed (rtd), Rosa Collins, Brown Ebewele, Himal Charles (AR), Tafida Gadzama just as Maria Wolphill and Prof. Ojeme sent the apologies.

However, Gusau while reacting to his suspension told Daily Trust that what happened in Abuja was a mere drama.

He said as far as he is concerned, he remains the duly elected president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

Gusau also said he was being witch-haunted for exposing corruption involving some top sports ministry officials.

His words "As far as we are concerned that was an illegal gathering. They don't have any power or right to convey any meeting. And as I talk to you, we are in Awka for our congress tomorrow (today) where all the states and Abuja are expected to attend.

"The ministry has shown clearly that they are not happy with my insistence that the $135,000 that went missing should be paid. The international federation has been hammering on no interference from government but you can see clearly that government is deeply involved in what is happening.

"Government rather than concentrate on core issues of sports, they want to run federations on their own and that is not going to work. I can confirm to you that I will fight it to the end. It won't work. And far as I am concerned what they did in Abuja was drama.

"There will be a board meeting tonight (yesterday) and then a congress meeting tomorrow (today). As I talk to you so many delegates have arrived Awka for the authentic board meeting and congress," he stated.

However, the faction that met yesterday in Abuja insisted that the AFN meeting scheduled to hold in Awka is not only illegal but an act of violation of the federation's constitution.

They maintained that by calling for an annual congress Gusau has flagrantly violated article 6.1.4 of the federation's constitution which stipulates that a 60-day notice must be given before annual congress of the federation can be convened.

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