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Anxiety as AFN family awaits new congress

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After the ordinary congress of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) was postponed on April 24, 2020, due to the severe circumstances caused by the global outbreak of COVID-19, some state chairmen and delegates in the athletics family are said to be eagerly looking forward to a new date. The ordinary congress of the AFN was called to ratify certain decisions taken by the board at its last meeting in Abuja in January as well as review its constitution.

It would also afford the athletics family to ‘cement’ issues arising from the removal of the former president of the body Ibrahim Gusau, and also discus and approve the training plans for the now postponed 2020 Olympics.

But the congress was postponed indefinitely with a few days to its commencement in April. A top official of the AFN told The Guardian yesterday that everybody was eagerly looking forward to the new date of the congress, which according to him, might hold within the first week after the federal government lifts the ban on inter state lockdown.

“We actually planned to hold the congress on June 25 thinking that the ban on interstate lockdown would be lifted on June 21,” the official said. “Now, all the state chairmen, delegates and other stakeholders are waiting for signal from the AFN secretariat. As soon as the ban on inter state lockdown is lifted, everybody will converge in Abuja for the congress. A lot of things will happen on that day, and we can’t wait to see it happen.”

The Guardian learnt that despite Gusau’s removal as president of the AFN, the international bodies, including the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) and World Athletics still ‘flow’ along with him, thereby denying the Olamide George-led board funds and other things needed to run the federation.

To end the regime of Gusau, a notice was issued in February in line with the relevant section of the AFN constitution for the general congress, where all stakeholders will make their contribution.

Another source hinted yesterday that the former president, Ibrahim Gusua, and his men were also mobilising athletics officials across the country to be on standby to counter every move by the Olamide George-led AFN on the day of the congress. Gusua had declared athletics autonomy during a congress he held in Akwa, Anambra State, but the Sports Ministry and Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) rejected it.

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