AFN Congress, Board Deny Amendment of the 2017 Constitution

Ibrahim Gasau

Members of the Congress and Board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) are yet to come to term with the purported amendment of 2017 constitution as claimed by the federation Preident, Ibrahim Gasau recently.

The AFN boss had in a memo to 37-member state associations including the Federal Capital Territory on August 7th, 2020 said that the 2017 constitution was amended at a congress of the federation in Awka, Anambra State on December 4th, 2019 and that the constitution ”that was forwarded to the World Athletics (WA) was the AFN Constitution 2017 (as amended).”

But African 400m record holder and Olympics 400m and 4x400m medallist who is also the chairperson of Ogun State Athletics Association, Falilat Ogunkoya, rejected Gusau’s claim in the memo.

‘Which constitution was amended? I didn’t receive any proposal from the AFN to that effect. The constitution of the AFN is clear on how and when the constitution can be amended,” observed Ogunkoya.

In the same vein, the Chairman of Ekiti State Athletics Association, Samuel Fatula, said the reports of the purported amendment is a joke carried too far.

“The AFN constitution that was adopted in 2017 made it clear that member-state associations must receive any proposal for the amendment of the constitution at least three months before the congress where the amendment is sccheduled to hold.

“I am the chairman of Ekiti State Athletics Association and a member federation of the AFN. I want to categorically state here that I did not receive any proposal for the amendment,” said one of the two Nigerian track and field statisticians recognised by the international body of statisticians.

”The only correspondence I got was the notice for the congress in Awka but didn’t attend because it ran foul of the provisions of the AFN constitution which stipulated a 60-day notice before a congress could be convened,” added Fatunla.

While national 5000m record holder and Chairman of Plateau State Athletics Association, Timon Gunen, corroborated Fatunla’s claim and denied receiving any such proposal.

Members of the board of the AFN as well as the secretariat of the federation are all unaware of the amendment which Gusau said in his memo of August 7,2020.

“This is news to us,” said Maria Worphil, Professor Emmanuel Ojeme, Himma Charles, ex-internationals Rosa Collins and Brown Ebewele and Olympians, Gabriel Okon and Tafida Fidelis Gadzama, all members of the board of the federation.

“If there is going to be any amendment to the constitution, the board of the AFN will first discuss it before our recommendations are passed down to member state associations through the Secretary General of the federation.

The AFN constitution is clear on this.’ “Article 10.1.3 also clarifies thus: All proposals as well as recommendations of the council related to such proposal shall be sent to member state association by the Secrertary General at least three (3) months prior to the congress. This provision has not been complied with and what transpired in Awka where the so-called congress was held was a sham,’ added Mrs Worphil, a former member of World Athletics Women’s Commission.

A top official at the secretariat of the AFN confirmed that the AFN neither received a proposal for an amendment to the constitution nor the board met to dicuss any such proposal.

“At all the board meetings held in 2019, the issue of amendment of the 2017 AFN constitution never came up; it was neither mentioned nor discussed,” he said and quoted article 10.1.2 of the AFN constitution to back his stand.