By Dare Esan:
The 2018 Nigeria Track and Field Championships came to an abrupt end Sunday morning when athletes protested against the continued stay of Sunday Adeleye as their representative on the board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The mostly home-based athletes who elected the former Police Sergeant as their representative in 2017 accused him of not fighting for their interest on the board as his appointment by the federation’s president, Ibrahim Gusau as the technical director of the AFN has led to a conflict of interest.
Adeleye, according to the athletes have used his position as technical director to intimidate the athletes he was elected to protect.
They also alleged that Adeleye has two dates of birth.They queried why he should be bearing the name Sunday, a name the Yoruba speaking people in Nigeria give to boys born on Sunday when his official date of birth on his international passport indicates he was born on 13 December, 1985 which was a Friday.
They also want to know how he competed as a 17 year old for Nigeria at the 2003 All Africa Games when he was already in the
Nigeria Police which requires that recruits into the force must be 18 years and above.
The athletes who competed on the opening day of the trial meant to select Nigeria’s representatives to the Asaba 2018 African
Championships in Athletics which holds next month in Asaba Delta state sat out the second day of comprtition as they carried placards demanding for the removal of Adeleye.
Backed by majority of the country’s former internationals who live abroad,the athletes have vowed not to compete again on
Monday, the scheduled final day of the championships.
This is the first time in the over 60 years of the championships that it would be disrupted.
Athletics stakeholders are worried that the legacies of past AFN chairmen like Late. Pa. S. O. Jolaoso (MBE),Mr S.O.O
Williams, Abraham Ordia, Peter Chigbuo, Dr George Ogan, Wing Commodore C.A Dangaji, Alhjai Abdulkareem Ohai Amun, Smaret
Akraka, Engineer Oluyomi Adeyemi-wilson, Dan Ngerem and Mrs Violet Odogwu-Nwajei (MON) are being eroded.
“The Nigerian anthem says the labours of our past heroes shall not be in vain but the leadership of this AFN board is doing the opposite,” says Samuel Fatunla, a renowned athletics statistician.