Stop misleading the public – AFN warns Gara Gombe

The AthIetics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), says the comments and actions of the chairman of Gombe State Amateur Athletics Association (GSAAA), Alhaji Gara Gombe is unhealthy, retrogressive, misleading, inimical and damaging to the sport of athletics and sports in general.

AFN, the biggest and most successful national athletics body on the continent came out with this strong verdict on Gara Gombe on Monday the 27th of May, 2024 after Gara Gombe made some remarks and statement which were laced with innuendoes and outright falsehood.

In a statement made available to the AthIetics Federation of Nigeria stated that Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe is crying wolf where there in none and his allegations that the leadership of AFN and the Secretariat have continued to take the Congress for granted is far from the truth.

“In the first place, it is a common knowledge that Sports Federations call for Congress, when there are serious issues affecting it’s operations. The AFN held its last Congress in December 2023, where several issues were thrashed out. The AFN will hold its next Congress soon after the Paris 2024 Olympics Games.” The statement reads.

The Federation went further to explain that since our last Congress, the AthIetics Body has been operating smoothly and achieving good results at major competitions within and outside the African continent.

Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe’s statement that the Executive Committee of the AFN is still in disarray is a figment of his imagination, the statement added.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the AFN operates as a united family.The AFN board is made up of people with integrity, there is no way one individual with selfish agenda can dictate to us.

“The bad attitude displayed by a few elements is not enough for Gara Gombe to tag the entire AFN board a confused and divided body.” AFN stressed.

The AFN went on to elucidate that Gara Gombe is the most confused Nigerian in the sporting firmament. His allegation that the entire Congress has no information about anything concerning the operation of the AFN is not only untrue but a calculated attempt to rubbish the good work done by the Chief Tonobok Okowa-led AFN board.

“Since the beginning of the year, the AFN has achieved a lot, including it’s great performance at the African Games in Accra, Ghana, where our athletes’ performance helped ‘Team Nigeria’ to finish second on the final medals table.

“Our Relay teams to the recently concluded World Relays in Bahamas recorded Nigeria’s best ever performance, winning four out of five slots to the Paris Olympics Games.

“Our athletes, with assistance from the AFN have continued to set great records across the World, picking tickets to the Paris Olympics. All these can only come from a united AFN family.” The AFN statement emphasized.

For your information, athletes who represented Nigeria at major competitions like the African Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics Games, it’s the responsibility of the Federal Government through the Sports Ministry to foot their bills and allowance, not that of the federation.

On the issue of inaction on the audited AFN report raised by Gara Gombe, a former member of Nigeria Football Federation, the AthIetics Federation made it crystal clear that the last year, the AFN board set up a panel to look into the federation’s finance books following an allegation raised by some board members.

The panel report was thoroughly reviewed by the AFN board, and in the end, it was agreed that every member who contributed money for sponsorship of the federation’s programme should be paid. That includes the money owed the AFN President, Chief Tonobok Okowa.

Okowa, a Vice President of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), opined that for Nigeria and Nigerian athletes to succeed, all positive and progressive hands and minds must work together and that is what is helping AFN to flourish despite the challenging economic situation across the world.

The AFN concluded by urging all Nigerians to disregard Gara Gombe’s statement and take his comments with a pinch of the salt while asking for continuous support for the Federation as it builds towards a successful outing in Cameroon 2024 African Senior Athletics Championships, and the Paris Olympics.

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