AFN crisis deepens as board gets two spokesmen
• Gusau is a joker, says Olamide George
The crisis rocking the board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has shown no sign of abating following the emergence of two spokesmen on the board.
The president of the board, Ibrahim Gusau incurred the wrath of majority of his board members when he allegedly unilaterally appointed former 400m runner Sunday Adeleye as Technical Director of the federation.
The decision to make Adeleye AFN’s technical director did not go down well with about eight board members, who favoured Brown Ebewele for the position.
Those who critised Gusau’s decision to appoint Adeleye include the spokesman, Dare Esan, who is the representative of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on the AFN board.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that Gusau, having failed to lure Esan to his side, decided to appoint a new spokesman during a meeting he held with a few board members in Abuja last week.
“He has picked another board member, Amanze Marcus as the new spokesman of AFN, but this won’t work,” the federation’s vice president Olamide George told The Guardian yesterday.
According to George, it was against national interest for Gusau to hold a ‘kangaroo board meeting’ with few board members in Abuja, while majority of the members were attending the National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State.
“The sports ministry, which is the supervising body of all sporting activities in Nigeria, was holding the National Youth Games in Ilorin, and it was expected that AFN and other federations must attend. So, why should a president of a federation decide to fix a board meeting in Abuja within the same period? Is there any sense in it?
“Now, Gusau has taken a step further by appointing another member of the board as spokesman. Dare Esan is the AFN spokesman going by his position as representative of SWAN. This is a way to further divide the board. The way forward now is for Gusau to call for a meeting, where all the board members will be present to chart a way forward. We have the Commonwealth Games, African Senior Athletics Championships and other competitions next year, and a divided AFN house can’t achieve any meaningful thing,” he stated.
Speaking further, George said: “The National Youth Games in Ilorin was about laying the foundation for the young athletes. I want Nigerians to ask why athletes from Zamfara, the home of the AFN President, were not in attendance? If it is true that Gusau had laid a solid foundation for athletics in his state, then athletes from Zamfara should have been there. I led athletes from my state (Ondo) to the games and they did very well.”
On his part, the spokesman, Esan said yesterday that the various steps being taken by Gusau would work against the progress of athletics in the country. “Someone called to inform me that Gusau appointed another board member as spokesman. What I don’t know is if the new person is a spokesman to Gusau because as a representative of SWAN on the board, I am the AFN spokesman. I didn’t expect Gusau to behave in this manner.”
It would be recalled that Esan had issued a release last week stating that some of the board members rejected Gusau’s appointment of Sunday Adeleye as Technical Director. “All over the world, the post of the technical committee chairman or technical director of an athletics federation has always been filled by individuals with huge coaching experience and background in sports science because sports, especially track and field has gone really scientific.
“In the absence of an individual with such qualification on the board, then the board of the federation can look at an accomplished ex-international, who has participated at either the Olympic Games or the IAAF World Championships or both. The individual our president has illegally assigned that role to is a dilettante as far as the position is concerned.”
Contacted yesterday, Adeleye simply said that every enquiry concerning the AFN should be directed to the new spokesman, Amanze Marcus.