The Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, held an extraordinary congress last week Thursday in Abuja with the major but hidden agenda the removal of its first Vice President, Tafida Gadzama from the federation.
Gadzama had been at the forefront of members asking Tonobok Okowa, the President of the federation to run a transparent and inclusive administration.
The demand among others obviously did not go down well with Okowa who, in violation of the federation’s constitution hurriedly convened what he termed an ’emergency extraordinary congress’.
Okowa and his co-planners obviously did not know the AFN constitution does not provide for the so termed Congress and that emergency and extraordinary means almost the same thing.
To make matters worse, their media attack dogs soaked their thinking faculty inside a bucket of water and reported what does not exists.
Article 10.1.7 says a 15 working days notice must be given before an extraordinary congress can hold but like the late Idi Amin, the AFN President assumed powers not converred on him by the constitution to convene an extraordinary congress in flagrant violation of the AFN constitution.
Okowa also bizarrely explained in newspaper reports that the AFN decided to cover the travel and accommodation of delegates because ‘it is an emergency meeting’.
This is another violation of the AFN constitution (10.6.3) which makes delegates responsible for their travel and accommodation.
With what transpired at the illegal congress, it is clear that was done for a reason.
It is necessary to say that all decisions reached at the Congress of May 25, 2023 are null and void because you cannot build something on nothing.
To show how incompetent and unintelligent the planners of the illegal congress is, they sponsored a few director of sports in the north east to the congress to come with a letter that Gadzama had been recalled.
When Gara Gombe, the chairman of Gombe state Athletics Association countered the move, saying there was no meeting called in the zone to discuss the recall, AFN President, Okowa told him ‘he has just one vote’.
To start with, the AFN constitution does not recognise director of sports. The leader of athletics in each state of the federation and Abuja, the federal capital territory is the chairman of the state athletics association.
The Borno state director of sports who planned the coup, according to reports has been sacked by the state government.
What the Congress planners did not know, and it is incredible they don’t, is that the north east lacks the power to recall Gadzama, same way National Association of Women in Sports, NAWIS, cannot recall Rosa Collins, the second Vice President.
The South South region does not also have the power to recall Tonobok Okowa, the AFN President.
The three officers, technically, no longer represent their respective zones after their elections as national officers of the federation.
Athletics observers are worried that those put in charge to administer track and field in Nigeria do not know the provisions of the guiding document of the AFN and believe in running the federation at their whims and caprices.
Gadzama and the board members who are asking for transparency will be shocked that the AFN will just be signing an agreement with Premium Trust Bank nine amounts after announcing in Birmingham, United Kingdom during the Commonwealth Games that a #100m deal has been struck with the new bank.
Interestingly, over 10 of the board members and the Secretary General were not aware of the ‘secret deal’ last August.
Instead of admitting to their deceit and fraud, they used one of their attack dogs in the media to say board members were scrambling for Premium Trust Bank sponsorship money.
Majority of AFN board members are insisting the federation is not the personal property of Okowa and warned a former, two-time president of the federation to stop acting as the proxy president.
They are exploring all means to ensure the AFN is run as a responsible organisation with a thoroughbred Secretary General who understands the sport and its demands.