World Athletics (WA), the world’s athletics governing body, has waded into the crisis rocking the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) by recognising Tonobok Okowa as the AFN President.
WA made its stance known in its response to an inquiry by a Nigerian media outlet.
“World Athletics has received information from both elections and based on the information provided, we are now working with the board elected in Abuja,” WA Head of Communications, Nicole Jeffery, said in a statement sent to the Punch.
“The meeting in Abuja was attended by the most voting members plus the National Olympic Committee, and is the board with whom the National Olympic Committee dealt with for the purposes of entering its team to the Olympic Games.”
The Okowa-led board has been at loggerhead with another factional board led by a former AFN president, Ibrahim Gusau, with the former backed by the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare.
The declaration by WA effectively puts an end to the leadership crisis that rocked the AFN since 2019, which led to parallel elections in Abuja and Kebbi on June 14, which produced Okowa and incumbent Gusau as presidents.
WA had previously recognised Gusau as the authentic AFN President as it had sent the password for the official email of the federation and correspondence between both bodies to the former AFN president.
The Okowa faction, however, led the AFN delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, while the Gusau faction was the one who signed the now controversial deal with sports manufacturer, Puma, to kit Team Nigeria at the just concluded games.