Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Gusau has been sworn in as the president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) after his election on June 13, 2017 was upheld, and the bye-elections ordered by the Appeals Committee was cancelled.
The Nigerian Minister for Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, inaugurated the newly elected boards of 29 out of 31 national sports federations at the National Stadium in Abuja on Friday 21 July.
This was after the Arbitration and Harmonisation Committee set up by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) on the petitions that trailed elections into the 31 national federation boards upheld Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau's election as the duly elected president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Sports, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, released a statement on Thursday evening to confirm the decisions of the Arbitration and Harmonization Committee.
Anibeze said that the delay in releasing the Committee's report was due to the volume of work they ware saddled with after the acrimonious elections in Abuja last month.
The Committee ruled that Alhaji Gusau was the duly elected representative of the North-west zone on the AFN board and so his election as president of the federation was in order.
The election of Patrick Estate Onyedum as representive of the South-east on the AFN board was also upheld, after the petition of his challenger, Charity Opara Asonze, was dismissed because she had served a five-year doping ban and was not eligible to contest as stipulated in the guidelines.
Immediate past AFN President, Solomon Ogba, returned to the board as Sponsor/Ex-officio member as approved by the federation after the case of Hameed Adio was dismissed for lack of merit.
Rosa Collins and Brown Ebewele were earlier reinstated as representatives of NAWIS and Technical officials representatives, while the petition of Haruna Bako and that of Charles Yayock of the North-west zone were both dismissed for lack of merit.
Meanwhile a member of the new AFN Board, Patrick Estate Onyedum told the Nigerian Vanguard newspapers on Saturday that it's now time to revice Athletics.
Onyedum, a former sprinter, called on all the agggrieved new board members to shealth their swords and come together as "only a united AFN board membership will bring up good results".
"It is a huge task we are facing," said Onyedum. "We must put our house in order before we can seek for help from corporate and individual Nigerians."
"I want to thank the president Ibrahim Gusau for all his efforts and I urged him to do everything to ensure that we have a functioning board.
“We need the massive support of all Nigerians. Athletics is a sport that has brought honour to this country, and I believe we can still do it again, because we have the talent and the means," he noted.
On the contentious AFN elections, Onyedum said that what went down with regards to the disputes, which culminated in the cancellation of the June 13 elections should never have happened, and it must not be allowed to happen again.
“It was a long tedious process and sometimes you wonder if it was worth fighting for.
"We are sports men and women and it is all about togetherness and not bitterness. We must conduct ourselves in a proper manner so that people will not equate us with motor park touts," he added.
Athletics Federation of Nigeria Board Members 2017-2021
- Ibrahim Shehu Gusau - President
- Olamide George - Vice President
- Patrick Estate Onyedum
- Fidelis Tafida Gadzama
- Brown Ebewele
- Gabriel Okon
- Amanze Marcus
- Police AIG, Sani Mohammed - Armed Services Representative
- Rosa Collins - Women in Sports Representative
- Solomon Ogba - Sponsor / Ex-Officio
- Sunday Adeleye - Athletes' Representative