The crisis rocking the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) deepened as two presidents emerged from two factional elections held in Abuja and Kebbi respectively Monday.
Incumbent president, Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau was re-elected as AFN President at the 2021 Elective Congress of his faction held in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State. He was returned for a second term of four years with 20 votes ahead of Uche Muoma who got just two votes from the 22 delegates present at the venue.
The duo of Sunday Adeleye and veteran journalist Nneka Ikem Anibeze were also elected as the first and second vice-president of the Federation in the election in Kebbi.
Adeleye, who is the North-west zonal representative got 15 votes to defeat the duo of Solomon Abari who had 4 votes and Patrick Estate with 3 votes.
For the 2nd vice-president position, Nneka Ikem polled 13 points ahead of Esther Hindi Mallim who came close with eight votes while Janet Wilson managed one vote.
In Abuja, Tonobok Okowa, chairman of the Delta State Commission, also emerged as the AFN President at the Elective Congress of the AFN faction recognised by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
The congress was attended by 35 state chairmen of the State Athletics Associations, who had converged in Abuja since Saturday for the congress and elections.
The election was held following the sports ministry’s invocation of section 10.4 of the 2017 AFN Constitution which led to the controversial dissolution of the Gusau-led board citing the expiration of its term.
Abuja elections conducted by a team led by Elias Usman Gora, a retired sports administrator and former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), also elected Gadzama Tafida-Wadzani and Rosaline Collins-Okah as the first and second vice-presidents respectively.
Okowa, while thanking the delegates for electing him, pledged to reach out for unity.
“We have had free and fair elections here today, and I thank you all for this. I will not disappoint you.
“However, I must acknowledge that out there, others who conducted one election or the other.
“We will reach out to them so that we will have a united family in order to jointly do this job of raising more athletics talents and developing the existing ones to move to greater heights,” he said.
Gusau on his part, thanked the delegates for their support in making his first term a success while counting on their continued support for the next four years.
“This is really humbling. I would like to thank all the delegates for finding time to come to Kebbi in the face of intimidation.
“We call on everybody to join hands with us to build athletics because the 14 of us cannot do it alone. Very soon, we will be constituting Commissions to oversee the daily affairs of the federation while we have time to face other serious matters.”
He thanked the World Athletics and the Confederation of African Athletics for their continued support as he hopes for stronger ties with the two bodies.
Former minister of youth and sports development, Barrister Solomon Dalung; South Sudan Athletics Federation president, Mr Samir Khamis Lako and former House of Representatives member, Honourable Ismail Hussein, monitored the elections.