Sunday Adeleye, the Technical Director of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), on Wednesday in Abuja said claims that he was not eligible for election into the federation’s board are untrue.
Adeleye who won election into the AFN board as the Athletes’ Representative in June said records of his eligibility were not shrouded in secrecy, and could be verified.
He spoke to newsmen in reaction to recent allegations by Brown Ebewele, the Coaches Representative on the AFN board, that he was ineligible.
Adeleye said Ebewele should be aware that the position of the athletes’ representative on the AFN board “is a constituent position, and only qualified aspirants can contest for the position.
“Elections into sports federation boards are serious exercises, and contestants are screened before elections. So, I wonder why this allegation is coming up months after the elections and board inauguration.
“One of the conditions for emerging as the athlete representative this year on the board of federations is that the contestant must have represented Nigeria twice in international competitions.
“Also, he or she must not have retired from athletics more than four years before contesting for the position.
“So, in the area of international competitions I was part of the Nigerian team to Cote D’Ivoire for the Junior African Championships in 2002, and we came back with a bronze medal in the 4 x 400 metres.
“I ran the last leg, with Enefiok Udo-Obong as part of that relay team, and Nigeria won seven gold and one bronze medals at the event
“Also, I was at the All-African Games of 2003, as a finalist. Anyone in doubt should cross check this.
“Similarly, I participated in an AFN-organised competition last year in Sagamu, Ogun State,” he said.
Adeleye then urged athletics stakeholders to “work towards uplifting track and field and not to be criticising each other unnecessarily’’.
Newsmen report that Ebewele had earlier told NAN that Adeleye was not even qualified to be an AFN board member, not to talk of qualifying to be its Technical Director.
“He does not satisfy the three major conditions for being an athlete representative in a federation board.
“He did not represent the country up to two times at international competitions, neither did he participate in any competition over four years ago.
“Lastly, an athletes’ representative must not be more than 30 years of age as at the time of contesting.
“All these disqualify Adeleye from representing athletes on the AFN board.
“The ministerial guideline should be the bible for all in this case, but in a way it went beyond its bound by saying aggrieved parties should not go to court,’’ Ebewele said.
Ebewele said the clause on age was ambiguous and the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development needed to clarify it.
“We called the attention of the ministry’s representative to that clause of `may not be more than 30 years of age’ and the response wasn’t convincing,” he said.
Newsmen report that the elections guideline had stated that “the Athletes’ Representative of a federation may not be more than 30 years old’’