New AFN board will improve Nigerian athletics, says Anugweje
While some aggrieved candidates in the last sports federations’ polls are still nursing the ambition of ‘claiming’ their mandate, former board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Prof. Ken Anugweje has called on all stakeholders in athletics to support the new board, headed by Ibrahim Gusau.
Gusau, a two-time board member, emerged the new AFN President during an election fraught with ‘intrigues and controversies’ in Abuja on June 13. But Anugweje, a professor of sports medicine, who was among those that signified interest in contesting the AFN presidency, told The Guardian yesterday that the emergence of Gusau as the new president was a good omen for the nation’s athletics.
“I am happy with the new board although the conduct of the election could have been done in a better way,” Anugweje said. “There were some people who wanted to bring their evil intention into the board, but they failed. If such people had found their way into the AFN board, all our efforts in building Nigerian athletics over the years could have been taken backward. To me, this new board means well for our athletics and I want all Nigerians to support them.”
At the election in Abuja, Gusau (North-West Zone) defeated former triple jump champion, Rosa Collins 48 to 2 votes, while Olamide George polled 43 to 3 votes to beat five-time Olympian, Mary Onyali to the post of Vice President.
Prof. Anugweje was of the opinion that if Gusau had lost out at the polls, Nigerian athletics would have ‘paid dearly’ for it because some people with bad intention were waiting to rubbish the good foundation laid by the immediate past board led by Chief Solomon Ogba.
He called on ‘true lovers’ of athletics in the country to rally round the new board, just as he urged the members to settle down as quickly as possible to fashion out ways of improving on what they met on ground.
In particular, Anugweje wants the new AFN board to focus attention on grassroots programmes, just as he tasked Gusau and his members to treat the fast approaching London 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championship with the seriousness it deserves.
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