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Thursday, March 30, 2023

AFN’s endorsement of Gusau for CAA Presidency splits stakeholders |

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• CAA Region II is behind Kalkaba, says official
The decision by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to endorse erstwhile president of the body, Shehu Ibrahim Gusau, to contest for the presidency of the Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA), seems to have divided stakeholders in the nation’s athletics.

Gusau wrote to the AFN last week during its yearly General Congress, in Abuja, seeking nomination and endorsement to contest for the CAA top position in the election scheduled to hold in April in Zambia. He will be the first Nigerian in over two decades to vie to be president of CAA.

AFN Secretary General, Rita Mosindi, told The Guardian that Gusau has been endorsed to contest for the position, saying that his victory at the poll will benefit Nigerian athletics.

“The AFN has given Gusau the clearance he needs to contest in the CAA election, and we believe that if he wins, it will have a great impact on our athletics,” Mosindi stated.

However, some stakeholders are kicking against the endorsement on the ground that a Nigerian does not need to push for such position for now.

Those who spoke with The Guardian were of the opinion that since a Nigerian, Chief Tonobok Okowa, recently emerged as new president of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA Region II) in Ghana, it is ‘unwise’ for the country to endorse another Nigerian to vie for the CAA presidency.

“A Nigerian just emerged as president of CAA Region II, and the country is endorsing another Nigerian to vie to become President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA). I don’t see any wisdom in it.

“This same Gusau has not been having a good relationship with the AFN for about two years now. He is only trying to be nice now because of his ambition to become CAA President. I agree it will be a good image for Nigeria if Gusau wins the CAA Presidency, but the AFN must realise that to win such a race will be a high mountain to climb for Gusau,” a top Nigerian athletics coach told The Guardian.

Another Nigerian track and field coach said: “I think it will be wise for the AFN to support the current CAA President, Hamad Kalkaba, to continue in office or support the candidacy of another person from another region in the continent. Afterall, Okowa is now one of the vice presidents of CAA courtesy of his recent election victory as President of CAA Region II. The AFN should calculate well.”

Gusau will be facing the current CAA President, Kalkaba, in the election in Zambia. Kalkaba, a former Camerounian athletics official, has been at the helm since 2003, when he replaced Senegal’s Lamine Diack, who became president of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

Meanwhile, a source close to the CAA Region II told The Guardian yesterday that the body will give its vote to Kalkaba, saying that he is ‘a friend of the house.’

“The CAA Region II will stand with Kalkaba during the election in Zambia. Apart from being a friend of the house, Kalkaba has made it clear that he is going for only one term.”

The Guardian recalls that Gusau, late last year, lost his bid to become president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) after the electoral body for the election rejected his candidature.

Gusau refused to pick several telephone calls put across to him by The Guardian to speak on his plans for the election in Zambia.

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