History was made last weekend when the Taekwondo Congress called by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation read and adopted its Constitution with a two-thirds majority of thirty-seven votes.
Chaired by its first female President, Mrs Margaret Elizabeth Binga, the special congress which was observed by representatives of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee had in attendance 25 states and 10 board members, and the sole purpose of the special congress was for the reading, deliberation and possible adoption of the constitution.
Twenty-six states were involved in the day-long deliberation included Lagos, FCT, Niger, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Yobe, Abia, Delta, Enugu, Nasarawa, Borno, Katsina, Cross River, Imo, Rivers, Benue, Jigawa, Kaduna, Bayelsa, Taraba, Ondo, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Sokoto and Akwa Ibom.
Board members present included: Chief Dr Jonathan Nnaji [International Representative], Alhaji Sani Lawal [Technical Representative], Anthony Anafulu [North Central], Dr Mrs Pat Anyanwu [NAPHER-SD Representative], Alhaji Abubakar Ago [North East], Barrister Obumneme Arum [South East], ACP Adewale Adebisi (Institutional Representative), Engr. Chika Chukwumerije [Athlete’s Representative/ Technical Director], Alhaji Mohammed Maccido Garba, Mrs Toyin Apara, and Mr Chukwuemeka Opara [Media Representative]
The heated argument during the special congress was the provision for a joint ticket during the presidential and vice-presidential elections.
Chief Dr, Jonathan Nnaji has argued against the addition of the provision.
“None of the Olympic sports use this method. The election to be President and Vice President should stand on its own. Even though we want to replicate the country’s methods, it is not right in sports”
Adamu Usman, the delegate from Nasarawa, disagreed with the former President.
“Since 1987, all the Presidents and Vice Presidents have not worked together, and this has been to the detriment of Taekwondo development in Nigeria. By being elected on a joint ticket, any potential president will choose who he can work with”
Supporting the argument, the Anambra Delegate, Mr Jude Nwafor argued
“We must not be copycats of other Olympic sports if it does not help us. It is we the practitioners that know where the shoe hurts. It is better to have unity at the head than a voting process that consistently elects two people who would not work together”
After a near-hour debate on this particular provision, it was put to a vote and there was a majority yes vote of the joint ticket measure.
The motion to adopt the constitution was moved by the Nasarawa delegate, Adamu Usman of Nasarawa state and seconded by Judith Williams of Bayelsa state, and a secret ballot vote was carried out with the secretary-General of the Federation, Mr Kabir Yusuf, overseeing the process. In an unanimous vote of 37 – 0 , the NTF special congress voted to adopt the constitution, which would guide the practise and development of Taekwondo in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation has operated without a constitution since its inauguration in 1987. Prior boards had failed to carry out such an exercise and the Honourable Minister of sports had given Federations an ultimatum to adopt their constitutions.