Tragedy at sports federations’ elections
It was all drama yesterday at the National Stadium, Abuja, where elections into the various sports federations were held to usher in new boards for the bodies.The drama started as soon as delegates to the polls arrived at the venue in the morning only to discover that some of their prospective candidates had either been disqualified or had their names replaced in the list of eligible candidates.
One of the rowdiest polls was that of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), where the body’s former vice president, Ibrahim Gusau later emerged as the new leader.
Former African and National triple jump champion, Rosa Collins, who earned her place on the AFN board on the platform of Nigeria Women in Sports, had her name replaced by Gloria Obajimi, who was allegedly not present when the NAWIS elections were held.
Another major surprise was the exclusion of former AFN Technical Director, Brown Ebewele, who won the technical and coaches’ election, but was disqualified for not presenting any tax clearance, even when he protested that he was up to date with the documents. Ebewele’s name was replaced with that of Gad Onumaegbu.
Collins was later allowed to contest when the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, changed the rules to accommodate candidates who had no constituency. But the damage had already been done, as Gusau garnered 48 votes, while Collins got just two votes.
In the vice presidency election, Olamide George beat Mary Onyali 43 to 3 votes.“What happened here is clearly a charade. We came here only to find out that my name and others who are in line with my views have been disqualified or replaced. Definitely we are looking at our options and we will react accordingly. This is nothing short of a conspiracy,” Collins stated.
But Gusau stated that the elections were all embracing as many stakeholders had the opportunity to pick their choice of president. He added that he would do his best to revamp the moribund sport.
“I was here four years ago with a plan. But now I am going to redouble my efforts to ensure that our sport is where it should be. I will also reach out to those who have lost. I know how painful it is to put in a whole lot of work only to come short,” Gusau stated.
Other federation elections went on as scheduled. No fewer than 177 of 396 candidates jostling for positions in the 31 sports federations in Nigeria may have been disqualified in the election. Out of the 25 contestants in AFN, 10 were disqualified, including former AFN Spokesman, Olukayode Thomas.
In badminton, eight of the 16 contestants were disqualified for tax certificate related reasons.Golf recorded the highest ratio of disqualification with 11 of the 14 contestants disqualified. It was followed by table tennis where 10 of the 16 contestants were ruled out.
Taekwondo federation was equally enmeshed in crisis when a South East delegate, Ferguson Oluigbo, who was earlier screened, cleared and given a delegate’s tag to vote was later told that some of his credentials were missing in the documents he submitted.
Former taekwondo federation president, Gbenga Ashiru was disqualified because his name was not in the list paving way for his opponent, Elizabeth Binga, to be returned unopposed.
The Sports Ministry had on Monday declared an election conducted in Kano by the immediate past president of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Tijjani Umar, illegal and so it was an unopposed Musa Kida, the Rivers State Basketball Association Chairman, who emerged as president in a polls held at the Ibro Hotel rather than the National Stadium, Abuja.
A statement signed by by Tolu Makinde, the Ministry’s Director of Press, read: “He was elected unopposed in an election conducted in line with the guidelines approved by the Ministry of Sports.’’ He added that Babatunde Ogunade emerged as Vice-President, while other board members included Osita Nwachukwu, Adamu Sirajo, Baba Bukar, and Isah Umar.
The rest are Adamu Deshi, Ejike Ugboaja, Musa Garba, Sam Ahmedu and Felix Awogu, who are representatives of technical bodies, players, NAPHER-SD, FIBA and sponsors.
In Shooting, Lonsdale Adeoye emerged as the new president after winning unopposed. Julius Orioko also won unopposed as vice president.
Meanwhile, Anthony Odunlade from the South West, Joseph Ohaegbulam from South East, Francis Sylvester from North-West, and A.G. Joshua from North East were elected onto the board.(NAN)
Top handball sponsor, Sam Ocheho, emerged as president of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN), beating the immediate-past President, Yusuf Dauda, 31 votes to 19. For the post of Vice-President, Kwasi Thomson, emerged winner unopposed.