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South-South endorses Okowa, NAATO backs Nesiama for AFN presidency

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Extra-ordinary Congress moves to June 13

The South-South zone may have endorsed the chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Tony Okowa, as its candidate in the presidential election of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) scheduled for June 14 in Abuja. Also, the Association of Athletics Technical Officials in Nigeria (NAATO) has put its weight behind the candidacy of former Technical Director of the AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, for the same position.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that the extra ordinary congress of the AFN, earlier scheduled for today (June 8), has been moved to June 13, a day to the election.

According to sources, all director of sports in the South-south region have endorsed Okowa as their representative on the coming AFN board.

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Okowa and three other candidates, including Omatseye Nesiama, Olamide George and Ahmed Kaita, have signified their intention to contest for the AFN president on June 14.

Secretary General of the AFN, Prince Adisa Adeniyi Beyioku, confirmed that the extraordinary congress would produce a three-man Electoral Commission to conduct the election in accordance with article 7.2.1 of the 2017 AFN constitution, which World Athletics has affirmed.

An official from the South South zone told The Guardian yesterday that Okowa was chosen based on his managerial quality and support for athletes, both home and abroad.

“As we speak, all directors of sports in Nigeria are already in Abuja and we are holding a meeting with Okowa. We are working seriously to make sure he emerges as the president of AFN on June 14. We know what he has been doing for Nigeria athletics,” the official said.

It was gathered yesterday that NAATO’s election to produce its candidate into the AFN board would hold in Ilorin, Kwara state tomorrow (Wednesday).

NAATO President, Prof. Ogunjimi Lucas Olusegun, has urged their members to give Omatseye Nesiama the support he needs to become the AFN President on June 14.

“His antecedents as a former Technical Director of the AFN has remained unequalled by subsequent officers,” the NAATO boss said in a letter made available to The Guardian. “We still remember his tenure for how he positively contributed towards the development of track and field athletics, and enhancement of the lots of technical officials in Nigeria.

“In fact, I consider him a major blessing to track and field athletics in Nigeria, and our noble association (NAATO) in particular,” Olusegun stated.

One of the presidential candidates, Ahmed Kaita, took his campaign to Kaduna yesterday, where he met with delegates in the North West region. Olamide George also continued his tour of South West region yesterday to canvass support for his presidential ambition.

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