The crisis tearing the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) festered on Monday as two presidents emerged in two separate elections, in two different venues.
In the election that took place in Abuja and supervised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Tonobock Okowa, was elected after emerging as the sole candidate for the position of president. He polled 41 votes and was duly returned as the elected by the AFN Electoral Commission chaired by Elias Gora, former General Secretary of the Nigeria Olympics Committee and former World Athletics lecturer and course director.
The Birnin Kebbi election produced Engr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau as being re-elected President of the AFN and was observed by the immediately past Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, South-Sudan AFN President, General Samir Khamis Lako and former House of Representative member, Hon. Usenin Ismail.
The Abuja election also produced Sydney 2000 Olympics 4x400m gold medalist, Tafida Gadzama as first vice president while another former Nigerian international, Rosa Collins was elected the second vice chairman.
The Kebbi election has Sunday Adeleye and Nneka Ikem Anibeze as the first and 2nd vice presidents.
In his acceptance speech, Okowa said he will work assiduously to bring peace within the athletics family so that ”we all can keep the family as a unit to take the sport of track and field to greater height.”
He promised to make the welfare of athletes and coaches his number one priority.
“I want to assure all athletes and technical officials that their welfare will be top on my list and that of the entire board of the AFN,”
Engr Gusau, in his acceptance speech, thanked the delegates for their support in making his first term a success while counting on their continued support for the next four years.
“We call on everybody to join hands with us to build athletics because the 14 of us cannot do it alone,” he said. He also thanked World Athletics and the Confederation of African Athletics for their continued support as he hopes for stronger ties with the two bodies.
He revealed that, “Very soon, we will be constituting Commissions to oversee the daily affairs of the federation while we have time to face other serious matters.”