The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is facing another crisis after two Presidents and two Boards of the organisation were elected in separate votes.
Elections were held in both the capital Abuja and the north western city of Birnin Kebbi following a dispute that has been ongoing since a faction of the AFN impeached Ibrahim Gusau as the President.
Gusau challenged the decision in court, but held onto his position even when the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development decided to recognise his vice-president as the leader of the Federation until elections could be held.
World Athletics gave the AFN until yesterday to conduct elections, but Gusau formed an Electoral Committee in Birnin Kebbi while the Ministry supported efforts in Abuja.
In Abuja, Delta State’s Sports Commission chairman Tonobok Okowa was elected President unopposed with 43 of the 44 votes, according to Nigerian publication The Guardian.
Tafida Gadzama was elected first vice-president unopposed and Rosa Collins was also elected unopposed as second vice-president in the vote, held inside the VIP Lodge of the National Stadium.
Gusau was re-elected as the other President with 20 of 22 votes, with the other two going to Uche Muoma.
Sunday Omotayo Adeleye and Nneka Ikem were elected as first and second vice-presidents at the meeting.
There were also controversies over zonal representatives on the AFN Board.
Ahmed Kaita, who had earlier intended to run for President and one of the outgoing AFN Board members, claimed that a state Governor had hijacked the zonal election held in Kaduna last week.
Kaita claimed the AFN had cancelled the election and ordered it be re-run yesterday.
“I got a message from AFN that the election in Northwest was cancelled and we should come for a new election today (yesterday),” Kaita told The Guardian.
“But that did not happen and I am sure the same Governor may have stepped in again.
“It is bad for our athletics.”
Yusuf Liman was elected the north west representative on the AFN Board.
The crisis marks the latest governance issues for the AFN, which had been locked in a dispute with the International Association of Athletics Federations – now World Athletics – in 2019 regarding an overpayment it received from the global body.
The AFN eventually refunded the money after a row which lasted for the best part of two years.