AFN crisis deepens as faction ‘suspends’ president

Athletics used t tell the story.
Athletics used t tell the story.

The crisis rocking the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has taken another twist as a faction of the board at a parallel congress held at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, on Tuesday, suspended the federation’s president, Shehu Gusau.

The AFN under the leadership of Mr Gusau has been battling with different crises which have taken a toll on performances of athletes both on the local and international scenes.

A statement made available to journalists revealed that the AFN President was asked to quit the federation for three reasons bordering on alleged gross misconduct, abuse of power and mismanagement of funds.

Reading the communique at the end of the meeting, Olamide George, a vice president of the AFN who was installed as ‘acting president’ of the board, said Mr Gusau has been told to step down to allow for proper investigation of the offences he is accused of committing.

“The board expressed its dismay at the flagrant violation of the constitution by the former President Engr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau who called an annual congress of the AFN in utter disregard of the provisions of the constitution section 614 which stipulates that a 50-day notice must be given before an annual congress of the Federation can be convened”.

Citing another alleged violation of the constitution by Mr Gusau, Mr George said: “Changing the password of the Federation’s email address thereby denying the former Secretary since April 2019 the opportunity to perform his lawful duties especially in the area of communicating to the World Athletics.”

He also said that Mr Gusau entered an agreement with the sportswear manufacturer, PUMA, without formal documentation.

“The president signed a deal without the knowledge and approval of the board and without the knowledge and signature of the Secretary General, the custodian of the Federation’s record, documents and properties.”

He said the board is unhappy with the president’s refusal to pay players, coaches and other officials of the federation their allowances or part payments at major international competitions.

He said these are the reasons some board members agreed that the president stepped aside in order for investigations to be carried out over the infractions, while he as the vice president will act in his place.

The board also set up a five-member committee to carry out the investigation and report back to the next board meeting.

The board members present at the Abuja meeting include Mr George, Gabriel Okon, Sani Mohammed, Rosa Collins, Brown Ebewele, Himal Charles and Tafida Gadzama.

Maria Wolphill and Professor Ojeme were absent from the meeting but they reportedly sent in their apologies.

However, another congress of the AFN is billed to take place in Awka, Anambra State today (Wednesday).

The meeting is fixed for the Golden Tulip, Agulu Lake.

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A source in Awka told PREMIUM TIMES that the supposed decisions taken in Abuja will be declared null and void

“Most of the board members are here with some state sports commissioners, so don’t be confused about whatever kangaroo meeting they had in Abuja” the source stated

When contacted, Mr Gusau simply said he was not aware of any suspension or meeting by the rival faction.



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