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Reactions Trail AFN’s Technical Director Sack By Sports Minister

There has been increased chatter surrounding the recent move made by the Minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare in sacking the Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Sunday Adeleye.
Sunday Dare

Adeleye who was removed on the count of ascertained gross misconduct which was extrapolated from the report submitted by the advisory committee set up by the minister which sought to investigate the reasons behind Team Nigeria poor performance at the recently concluded 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

The letter of removal had read thus, “Adeleye’s removal followed the report of the Advisory Committee on the Poor Performance of Team Nigeria at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships, in Doha, Qatar,”

Recall that, Sunday Adeleye was elected by as a member of the AFN in 2017 and was later appointed as the technical director by the AFN president, Ibrahim Gusau.

According to the AFN constitution, in article 10, the constitution state that all disputes arising and related to the constitution shall be settled according to the provision of the constitution.

It reads, “In the case of dissolution, dispute, suspension and other sanctions on any AFN board member, the constitution state that all disputes arising and related to the constitution shall be settled according to the provision of the constitution”.

It further read that suspension and sanctions is to be conveyed by a letter from the AFN secretariat to the concerned state association or athlete.

On the issue of dissolution article 10 subsection 4 states that the AFN board may be dissolved by the pronouncement of the federal ministry of youth and sports at the expiration of four years of office in line with the Olympic circle.

“Any case which has not been provided for in the constitution shall be settled in first instance by the AFN council and at last resort by the congress”.

In article 8 subsection 6 the President has the power to appoint the coaches in charge of the technical management of the national teams.

However this has raised hairs within the fraternity as questions have arisen seemingly based on the allotted powers of the minister to take such decision

Sunday Dare

According to a former Director of sports in Katsina State, and former board member AFN, Aliyu Kofar Sore said that, the technical director was duly elected to board and not appointed by the ministry.

“How can the ministry sack the technical director of AFN who was elected but not selected or appointed by the ministry?” he said.

“Whatever the outcome of the unbalance committee appointed by minister to investigate Doha fallout should have been refer to the AFN board, As minister we expect you to handle some crisis in Basketball and other sports federation”.

“The minister should beware with sycophants both Internal and external force and see how you can move sports to the next level”

A sitting board member of the AFN, Prof Emmanuel Ojeme, further advised the ministry to take initiative and develop strategies that would benefit the athletes and boost their performance at international events rather than crying foul over less performance.

“The sports ministry should stop looking for a scapegoat each time things go awry. However the truth here is that, it would be a distraction for the TD to be removed at this time seeing as we are this close to the Olympics and this could affect the performance of the federation at the tournament”.

” The ministry should actually live up to expectations, It is not enough to just give athletes funds for flight ticket and others expenses whenever there are tournaments. They should endeavour to initiate programs that would develop athletes rather than the fire brigade approach employed by the ministry as opposed to what happens in other developed countries”.

Alluding to the existing constitutions of the sports federations, a major stakeholder Emmanuel Zira stated “The fact is that based on the constitutions of the various federations,it is within the rights of the president to remove the TD, however the minister can recommend his removal but it is left for the president and the sitting board to take its stand”.

However, some sports journalists in Abuja also expressed their concerns.

Nwudoh Uche, stated that it was well within the rights and power of the minister to do so,

“He didn’t sack him but he was removed. Yes, he has the power to remove him because it was by appointment, he is still a board member and the AFN is under the ministry”.

Oluwole Francis “AFN Technical director is an appointment position. I think the minister have the right to do so. But on this matter sacking TD is not the solution”.

Dare Kuti, had a different opinion, reiterating that while minister might have made this on good intentions, it might not be a good note start with.

“According to the rectified constitution only the congress has the powers to remove any board member of a sports federation”.

“The minister might have good intention of reform but the process is very wrong, if the minister should adopt this style, then most of the sports federations members would have been removed or sacked”.

“Most of the federations are still finding their foot and struggling at International tournaments. If the minister adopts this style, then nobody will remain in the 42 sports federations”.

Lai Lawal, opined that the minister had jumped the gun in ordering for the dismissal of the TD.

“I think the minister jumped the gun in this particular issue, the position of the technical director of the AFN is an elective position and only the board can make such decision through a vote of confidence for against the official”.

“We keep our fingers crossed as to how the leadership of the AFN will handle the matter” he stressed.

Amaechi Agbo said “I doubt if he has the powers because the TD was duly elected during the 2017 federations’ election, the minister should have recommended to AFN to relieve him of his position which could only be done during a congress”.

“Besides, it is instructive to find out if he was elected or appointed. If appointed, then, like secretaries of the federations, the minister can remove him unilaterally. But if elected, he does not have such powers”.

In all these deliberations, the most people affected by the dismissal of the AFN technical director are the athletes whom he works with on a daily basis. Speaking to the coach to gauge the impact on the athletes, it was noted that they were demoralized over his removal.

According to Head coach Arena Athletics Academy Uruemu Adu, “Adeleye had been close to the athletes and knew how to enliven their spirits while also being strict. He also stated that the TD had taken an initiative to infuse home based athletes in international competitions”.

“TD Adeleye is close to the home based athletes, and is versed in bringing the best out of them. He developed the strategies that led to grooming of home based athletes that represent the country in international competitions. So this has indeed been a blow to the athletes, I just hope it does not affect them drastically in light of upcoming tournaments” he concluded.

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