The crisis bedevilling Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), may be far from over as all the contending parties continue to dig deep, and not even a last ditch attempt at the Congress fixed for Monday June 14th in Kebbi state appears to be capable of halting the beleaguered body from further descent into chaos.
According to the President of the body, Engr Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, he is the only person constitutionally empowered to call a Congress which he said is now billed for Kebbi.
He said: “The President is the only person authorized to call a Congress. This will hold in Kebbi state on Monday and not Abuja. If you know you are a popular candidate or you have a candidate that can contribute to the growth of athletics in Nigeria, come and try your popularity at the polls in Kebbi state on Monday, instead of hiding under institutions to destroy the sport you claim to love.”
The president was reacting to the position of the factional leader and incumbent vice-president of the body, Olamide George, who had kicked against the letters of the election guideline purportedly released by a staff of the Sports Ministry which George described as an attempt to hijack the electoral process in favour of their preferred candidate.
George insisted that the 2017 constitution as agreed upon in a recent meeting between the AFN leadership, the Confederation of African Athletics and the World Athletics should be respected.
“It is very disturbing and sickening that we are having different directives from two quarters that are against the 2017 Constitution. The process is against the resolution reached with World Athletics and CAA. The directive from the Ministry is against the law and it shall not stand. The genuine Congress men are already programmed to be disallowed from their orchestrated plans,” he added.
The president agrees with George that the process is faulty, but nevertheless encourages all parties to turn up at the Congress in Kebbi to test their popularity.
“I saw this coming and that was why I was harping on this all this while, but many people thought it was all about personal fights. I have told anybody that cares to listen that the constitution of the AFN as domiciled with World Athletics, CAA and the Ministry supersedes every other guideline. To remove or elect anybody, it must be according to the constitution as agreed on by all the 36 states of the Federation, and the FCT alongside other relevant stakeholders,”Gusau continued.
While Gusau re-emphasised the commitment of the federation to hold a free and fair election slated for Monday, 14th of June in Kebbi, the George group has stated it’s intention to stay away from the Congress.
“We hereby pull away from the ongoing unconstitutional process until equity, justice and fair play prevails in compliance with the 2017 constitution,” George said.
It is a stalemate and we wait to see who blinks first.