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AFN boss Gusau convenes board meeting amid probe

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Sports Minister, Sunday Dare

Embattled President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Ibrahim Gusau has called for a board meeting of the federation, an action some members see as ‘desperate move’ to undermine the power of the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, who set up a probe panel three days ago to investigate the federation’s activities.

The panel is probing the Gusau-led body for its poor performance at the recently concluded Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships.

The eight-man panel headed by a former board member of the AFN, Prof. Ken Anugweje, started its operations on Tuesday. The panel is investigating the avoidable massive and unacceptable technical and administrative lapses that embarrassed the nation in Doha.

The Guardian learned yesterday that the AFN boss, Gusau as well as it’s Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye, and secretary-general, Elijah Ademu appeared before the panel yesterday to answer questions relating to issues that led to the country’s poor performance in Doha.

A source at the panel told The Guardian that Gusau, Adeleye and Adamu were drilled for several hours at the panel. “Adeleye was asked if the AFN had a technical committee, and he said no. He was asked how then he picks athletes that represent Nigeria at major competitions like the African Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Championship? He couldn’t give a definite answer. He said it was not his duty to set up committees. The secretary also said the same thing. We are not done yet with Gusau. He will re-appear at the panel today,” the source stated.

Meanwhile, another official of the AFN, who is in Abuja on the invitation of the probe panel, revealed yesterday that Gusau called for a board meeting today.

“I just got the invitation on our WhatsApp group a few minutes ago,” he said. “I wonder why Gusau would call a board meeting when a panel probing the AFN is already in place. To me, this is like daring the power of the sports minister. I will attend the meeting tomorrow (today) to hear what he has to say. Honestly, I don’t see the need for this board meeting,” he stated.

More Nigerians, particularly stakeholders of the nation’s athletics, including past and present coaches, athletes and sports journalists continue to testify at the panel in Abuja.

The Sports Minister inaugurated the eight-man panel on Monday in Abuja after several weeks of speculations.

Apart from Prof. Ken Anugweje, the panel also has former chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, a member. Other members are Rotimi Obajimi, Umar Bindir, Falilat Ogunkoya, Mary Onyali, and Dare Esan. A former secretary of the AFN, Maria Wophill, is the secretary to the panel.


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