AFN members drag Gusau before World Athletics over misconduct

The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Ibrahim Shehu Gusau has been dragged before the World Athletics body following a petition by nine members of the board. The members have accused the former federal legislature of violating some articles of World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct.

Those knowledgeable with the mode of operations of WA say Gusau risks being slammed a life ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit if found to have violated their regulations.

 Gusau, whose presidency was recently affirmed by a law court, was accused among other things of causing money belonging to the federation to be paid into a private account belonging to one Sunday Adeleye who at the time was an elected member of the board of the AFN.

The money in question was paid by kits manufacturer PUMA as contractual fee for an equipment and licensing agreement reached with Gusau and Adeleye in July 2019. They were purportedly acting on behalf of the AFN, “without the knowledge of majority of its board members” the petitioners have stated.

According to the narration, Adeleye’s firm, Dynamic Sporting Solutions was unilaterally appointed by Gusau to serve as consultant to the federation for the project, which was a case of  Conflict of Interest and a breach of World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct Article 3 (Integrity Standards), sub-section 3.3.5 (Conflict of Interests).

If found guilty, Gusau will be the second high profile African athletics official and member of a World Athletics member federation after Kenya’s David Okeyo to be slammed a life ban by the AIU.

Okeyo, for the records was banned for diverting money meant for Kenya Athletics Association paid by sportswear and equipment company, NIKE into his private account for his personal use. Okeyo who at the time was the Secretary General and Vice President of Kenya Athletics Association was banned for life in 2018. 

Gusau is also accused of dragging the AFN to court, a decision which is said to have been frowned at by the Chief Executive Officer of World Athletics, Jon Ridgeon in his letter to the Nigerian Minister of Sports Sunday Dare on August 27, 2020.

This, according to the petition is also a violation of both the World Athletics constitution Article 84 on Disputes and Appeals and Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct’s Article 1, section 1.3 and sub-sections 1.3.1,1.3.2 and particularly 1.3.3 which states thus: All applicable persons will be deemed to have agreed not to bring any proceedings in any court or other forum that are inconsistent with the foregoing submission to the jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Tribunal.

The AFN president is further accused of dishonestly presenting himself as the Secretary General of the AFN before World Athletics after he changed the password of the official email account of the federation thus preventing the Secretary General from performing his lawful duties as enshrined in the constitution of the AFN (article 8.7,section 8.7.2).

This, the board members allege is not only a violation of the federation’s constitution but also that of World Athletics’ Integrity Code of Conduct Article 3 (Integrity Standards),sub-section 3.3.1.

Gusau, in the petition is alleged to have forged documents purporting to be proposals for the amendment of the 2017 constitution of the AFN and presented to a Congress in Awka in December 2019 convened in violation of Article 6.1.4 of the AFN constitution.

The AFN president is alleged to have disregarded the procedure for not only convening a Congress of the federation but also that of amending the constitution as spelt out in articles 10.1.2 and 10.1.3 of the AFN constitution. The alleged forging of the documents presented before the illegal Congress, according to the petition by the board members is a violation of World Athletics Integrity Code of Conduct Article 3 (Integrity Standards), sub-section 3.3.1. which specifically requires any and all applicable persons ‘…not to forge any document, falsify any authentic document or use a forged or falsified document.’ 

Furthermore, Gusau, without the consent of the board attempted to register the AFN as a limited liability company. In doing so, he presented cooked up minutes of the board of the AFN wherein he (Gusau) and Adeleye were purportedly elected trustees of the AFN.