AFN election was a coup – Solomon Aliyu

A National athletics coach, Solomon Aliyu has described the June 13, 2017 Athletics Federation of Nigeria {AFN} election as a laughable charade.

While speaking to Awijare News correspondent, the national hurdle coach said,”I was in Abuja for the election and it was not free and fair. Some people have been elected before the President, Vice President and Zonal Representatives election date. Unfortunately, between Monday night and Tuesday Morning, some candidates were replaced on the ground that they have been disqualified without stating a particular reason for their disqualification.”

Solomon - AFN election was a coup - Solomon Aliyu
Coach Aliyu with some athletes in an International competition

Coach Brown Ebewele was elected to represent the coaches on the board while Rosa Collins was also elected to represent NAWIS, “I was surprised that their names were removed for no just cause”. The most unfortunate thing is that they were replaced by those who never took part in the earlier elections. “That for me was a coup, it was a coup against the entire nation.”

Will those short changed take an option of appeal? “It is the same cabals in the ministry that ensured that they bent the hands of the law during the elections that will receive the appeal. So, I don’t think anything meaningful will come out of the appeal”

What is the way forward then coach? “The way forward as far as I’m concerned as an optimist is to bury the hatchet and work with the said elected officials we have presently to see how we can forge the Federation ahead, because the Federation is bigger than any individual”

Aliyu - AFN election was a coup - Solomon Aliyu
Solomon Aliyu (785) with Orode Oyiki in his active days as a National hurdler

“I expect the newly constituted board to call all warring factions together and pour oil in the troubled waters so that we can as a team and stakeholders forge a common ground to move this sport that has suffered for so long ahead.”

Apart from the faulty processes that heralded the elections, what’s your opinion about the personality of the board members, especially the president? “Personally I don’t have anything against the elected President because he has been around for a while, under the outgoing board, he was the Vice President during the first term of Solomon Ogba. I am sure he understands the problems of the athletes. And with a few of his board members who are going to work with him to bring the desired success and unity that has been lacking for so long in the Federation.”

Who among the board members do you trust can perform well and bring sanity to the Federation?

“Prominent among the board members who I trust will deliver is AIG Sani Mohammed who is an experienced sportsman and sports administrator. Also, as a disciplined Police Officer, I think the desired changes will be in the Federation if he works closely with the President.”
“Also the Federation Vice President elect, George, an Honourable from Akure, we also have Gabriel Okon as those I trust have what it takes to perform well.”

“If the board members can eschew personal interest and talk about the real issues, we may start talking about success story by this time next year in the Federation.”

“The House is big and wide enough to accommodate all of us, if you bring sentiment into the House that is when we are going to have problems. If we begin to discriminate against one another, we are going to have problem.”

“As stakeholders, irrespective of the camp we belong to before and during the elections, for the mere fact that the elections have been conducted and winners emerged, the logical thing to do is for the winners to call every party together and see how we can forge ahead, not drawing a battle line after the elections.”

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