*Adamu, Dalung, Elegbeleye, Ekeji sue for peace in AFN
By Olayinka Elebute, Oluwole Francis
Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has a new logo on its way to corporate re-branding of the organisation. The logo was unveiled by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Barrister Solomon Dalung, during the first Congress in Abuja.
Barrister Dalung decried how athletics which used the king of sports lost that position to football. Many Nigerians follow athletics with interests. Until the time athletics went to sleep and football took over the mantle. This leadership position is what you should be primed to take back.
The new logo which was designed by SMP Communications Limited, a Lagos-based brand management firm, is expected to be the new insignia of athletics repackaging in the country. They also designed a new cliche: “Let’s get back on track!”
The Congress went through the clauses of the new Constitution for the AFN which replaced the one that has been in use since 1944. The Constitution was passed. The new Constitution was passed by an overwhelming majority of the delegates.
Delegates and guests were also shown the new Sports Motel which the AFN leadership is putting in place to make
In his speech, Hon Ibrahim Gusau, the AFN President said, “I welcome you to brand new World of Athletics in Nigeria, propelled by People, Passion and Performance.
“As part of our concerted efforts to build a deliberate future for our sport, you will recall that after our election, I did promised we shall reconstruct the sport with six National Athletics Development centres. We have laid a firm foundation for the pilot. The south west centre in Ondo State. The governor, Arakunrin Olurotimi Akeredolu hosted us last week in Akure.
The next centre we hope to lay its processes quickly is the Middle and Long Distance project in Jos, Plateau State. Each region of the nation shall have such a centre. It is our ambition to create fresh but very rewarding and upwardly mobile job opportunities for our coaches. We hope to train 240 new coaches in the next 18 months to meet the requirements of these centres.
“Our plans to make the Nigerian athletics environment the strongest sports economics platform is set. We want to make millionaires out of our athletes, coaches and sport. Before the end of the current season, we hope that the Golden league and the National Trials will become great money earning
events. By 2018/2019 season, it is our wish to make the prize money for the Golden League as much as N150million.
By then, we shall strive to give every discipline in the athletics event the best of equipment, the best competitive atmosphere, the best athlete-centred, coaches-focused and rewarding system.
Our future is bright. Our fate is in our hands. Sooner than later, the athletics brand will become the cynosure of all serious business interest in the country. We have the largest sport in the country. We have the biggest market and potential. Our annual budget should start to contest with budget of states. Its our determination to professionalise and commercialise the sport to the glory of God and the ultimate pride of every member of the family.
“We have concluded plans to give insurance to every personnel in our sport from this new season. We are concluding plans with relevant partners to have one of the most reliable database with biometric capability. Age cheating will become a thing of the past in our sport. No one won’t be proud of the sport.
In their goodwill messages, three former Directors General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Messrs Amos Adamu, Patrick Ekeji and Gbenga Elegbeleye sued for the President and Board members to work together for the glory of the sport. Youth and Sports minister, Solomon Dalung, also called for the two parties to bury their hatchets for the sake of the sport which in the first instance brought all of them together.
The congress was attended by 31 states including FCT. Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Rivers, Taraba and Yobe were absent.
Many of the delegates who spoke to www.gongnews,net spoke so highly of the commendable efforts that the Gusau leadership has brought to play since their election. His plans are deep and great. You can see from his speech to Congress. That he
could pull the National Athletics Development Centre in Ondo State is a big sign of hope for our sport. Imagine him replicating this six centres. Think of 240 coaches getting trained and given new jobs. Truly speaking, we have never had it this good.
Coach Stephen Nuhu of the High Altitude athletics club of Jos was full of joy and praises for Hon Ibrahim Gusau. We are so expectant and eager for our own centre to take off. We are praying for Mr President that God will energise and uphold him. You can imagine his plans for middle and long distance. I was called from Abuja and his speech was read to me and I felt really on top of the world. He has made us to have bigger hopes and aspirations.
Some of the big guests that graced the occasion include three former Directors General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) in Dr Patrick Ekeji, Dr Amos Adamu, Otunba Gbenga Elegbeleye. Immediate past President of the AFN, Mr Solomon Ogba, Dr Angie Taylor, Chief Mary Onyali, Chief Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo.