Nigeria: AFN Crisis Worsens As Gusau, Okowa Emerge Factional Presidents

The leadership crisis that has bedevilled the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), moved from bad to worse on Monday as two factional presidents emerged in the parallel elections conducted in Kebbi and Abuja.

The election in Kebbi was held at the Jambali Hotel, Birnin Kebbi, where Engineer Ibrahim Shehu Gusau was re-elected for four-year tenure after he defeated Uche Muoma 20 to 2 votes at the 2021 AFN Electoral Congress.

In the same election, Sunday Adeleye was elected First Vice-president of the AFN with 15 votes, as Patrick Estate got 3 votes, while Solomon Abari got 4 votes.

Veteran journalist Nneka Ikem Anibeze polled 13 out of 22 votes to be elected as the Second Vice-president of the federation as Janet Wlison recorded 1 vote while Esther Hindi Mallim got 8 votes.

Similarly, Chief Tonobok Okowa of Delta State who is the Executive Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission emerged as the AFN president in the elections held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

The election was attended by 35 chairmen of state Athletics Associations, who converged on Abuja since Saturday for the congress and elections.

With 46 delegates in attendance, Okowa who was unopposed had 41 votes while Gadzama Tafida and Rosa Collins emerged as the first and second vice president with 43 votes and 42 votes respectively. They were also elected unopposed.

The congress in Kebbi was called by Gusau as provided for in the 2017 AFN constitution but the one in Abuja was convened following the Federal Ministry of Sport’s invocation of section 10.4 of the 2017 AFN Constitution to dissolve the previous board.

Meanwhile, Okowa in his post election speech said that his mandate as president would prioritise athletes and coaches’ welfare, Gusau said “This is really humbling. I thank all the delegates for finding time to come to Kebbi in the face of intimidation.

“We call on everybody to join hands with us to build athletics because the 14 of us cannot do it alone.”

While the AFN board elected in Kebbi was inaugurated yesterday, the Okwa led board is to be inaugurated today in Abuja.

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