• Visiting officials brief sports minister
The crisis resolution meeting between World Athletics (WA) and the two warring factions of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) failed to yield the needed result yesterday in Abuja.
The two top WA officials, made of the chairman of Athletics Kenya, Jackson Tuwei and a Chief Executive Officer of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), a Senegalese, arrived in Abuja on Monday for the meeting with the two AFN factions, one led by Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau and the other by Olamide George.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that the meeting, which lasted for several hours, ended in deadlock as the Olamide George-led faction stood its ground, insisting that Gusau remained impeached over alleged corrupt practices. The Olamide George-led faction also explained to the visitors that the athletes recalled the former Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye, who was then the athletes’ representative on the board.
A source explained to The Guardian that Gusau and Adeleye tried as much as possible to exonerate themselves of any wrong doing.
“It was a marathon meeting and the visiting WA officials have not been able to find a solution to the crisis,” the source said. “The (WA) officials had to go for another meeting with the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, in the evening (yesterday). They will continue the meeting with the two AFN warring groups by 9.00 a.m. on Wednesday (today).”
Since last year, the AFN has not known peace following a battle for supremacy between Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau and Olamide George. Gusau was elected as the president of the body during the last federations’ polls, while George was the first vice president.
However, the principal officers fell apart along the line, leading to the impeachment of Gusau by some of the members who claimed that he (Gusau) was operating as a sole administrator. He was also accused of corrupt practices. George became the acting president of the body, a move that plunged the federation into crisis.
But the crisis took a new twist in July last year when a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja (Court 3) affirmed that Gusau remained the president of the body. The court nullified the ‘purported’ suspension and subsequent impeachment of Gusau, as well as all other actions and resolutions taken by the Olamide George-led AFN, just as it set aside the purported appointment of George as Acting President of the AFN.
Both the Sports Ministry and the Olamide George-led AFN board later appealed against the judgment.