Professor Francis Dodoo has been re-elected as President of the Ghana Athletics Association 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 3-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 were scheduled to go to congress on December 15, 2018, but the association 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 8 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 strong 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.
First off, a greater number of the people, mostly the plaintiffs in the court case, 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 3rd term.
When it was time for the elections, the last item on the list, many of the positions did not have have contestants as they were absent.
This sort of circumstance had not been catered for in the GAA constitution so they resorted to Article 15.15 of their constitution which bothers on “Matters Not Provided for”. It gives powers to the Executive Committee to determine such matters.
So the GAA Exco took the decision to re-open 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 of 35, 30 of which were present but only 23 were eligible to vote as a result of members either presenting wrong delegate names or asking to vote by proxy, which the Electoral Commissioner rejected. The absentees were mostly the plaintiffs.
Prof. Dodoo’s position was confirmed with 22 of the 23 delegates voting yes, and only 1 absenting himself.
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 7.
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 3rd tenure, saying he would have preferred to set an example of only going for two terms, even though the constitution allows for 3 terms.
It is anticipated that the last of the GAA drama has been seen, with Lutterodt and his camp, expected to fight the legitimacy of the elections.
Below are the new Executives for GAA
Prof. Francis Dodoo
Vice president 23
Mrs. Amui Harriet
2nd Vice President 22
Organizing Secretary 23
Deputy organizing 15 secretary
An earlier version of this story contained some inaccuracies which have since been corrected***