Professor Francis Dodoo has been re-elected as President of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) for a third term in office in what will go down in history as one of the most dramatic elections in the history of the country’s athletics governing body.
Prof. Dodoo, who first became GAA President in 2010, won a yes or no vote in which 22 of 23 delegates overwhelmingly voted in his favor on Saturday.
The GAA Elective Congress was held at the Staff Common Room of the Tamale Senior High School in Tamale, after the National Sports Authority refused to make available the conference room of the Aliu Mahama Stadium, the initial venue for the congress, insisting they did not recognize the elections.
The GAA had hastily convened congress, giving delegates only a three-day notice, instead of the constitutional 42 days required, with General Secretary Bawah Fuseini insisting a strongly-worded email from the IAAF threatening a ban, forced their hand.
The GAA was scheduled to go to congress on December 15, 2018, but the association’s former president and a contestant in the presidency position, George Lutterodt, together with 14 others, brought a court case against the association, which halted the process for eight months, as the two parties battled in court.
On July 5, 2019, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s injunction application, which paved the way for the election.
A day to the congress, the National Sports Authority insisted Bawah Fuseini, who is a staff of the NSA, was transferred and no longer had the mandate to convene the GAA Congress. That evening, the GAA responded with a letter, stating in no uncertain terms that they were autonomous and the NSA had no control on their constitutional procedure.
Step in congress day, where the drama reached its climax.
More than 80% percent of the people who initially filed nominations to contest in the December 2018 elections were absent. George Lutterodt, who had filed to contest with the Upper East’s Ababu Afelebiek and Samuel Ayer (Jollof) for the presidency was the most conspicuous absentee.
Prof. Dodoo himself had filed for nomination to contest for the position of vice president in the December 2018 elections, and when he took his stand at congress, he stated categorically that the delegates had seen the last of him as GAA President and that he would not be seeking re-election for a third term.
When it was time for the elections, the last item on the list, many of the positions did not have contestants as they were absent.
As per the GAA’s constitution, the General Secretary then re-opened nominations on the congress grounds. One of the delegates nominated Prof. Dodoo for the position of president, he insisted he would not contest, but some of the delegates threatened a boycott of the congress if he did not accept their nomination. An emotional Prof. Dodoo was subsequently ‘forced’ to accept the nomination to contest.
Ababu Afielek and Samuel Ayer, who had filed for position of president in the nullified nominations, opted to contest for different positions in the second nominations; Ababu picked up nomination for 1st Vice President, and Ayer contested for Organizing Secretary, the position he had held previously. This meant Prof. Dodoo was the sole candidate for the presidency.
The GAA has a delegate list 35, but only 23 were present, enough to form a quorum nonetheless. Prof. Dodoo’s position was confirmed with 22 of the 23 delegates voting yes, and only 1 absenting.
The rest of the positions all had sole candidates, except for the position of Deputy Organizing Secretary which Salamatu Musa won with 15 votes to seven.
Prof. Dodoo, in his victory speech, said while he was overwhelmed by the show of trust in him, he cannot promise that he will last the entire duration of his third tenure, saying he would have preferred to set an example of only going for two terms, even though the constitution allows for three terms.
Below are the new Executives for GAA
Prof. Francis Dodoo
President – 22
Vice president – 23
Mrs. Amui Harriet
2nd Vice President 22
Organizing Secretary 23
Deputy organizing secretary 15