*Inauguration of Boards at 2:00pm Friday
*We told you first and it came to pass
By Olayinka Elebute, Oluwole Francis
Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau’s election as President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and that of Mr. Patrick Estate Onyedum’s election as South East representative were upheld by the Harmonisation Committee.
According to a press statement signed by the Sports Minister’s media aide, Nneka Anibeze-Ikem, it disclosed that the Arbitration and Harmonisation Committee which had membership from the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports reviewed all protests against the Appeals/Petitions committee.
The committee decided that Christy Opara Asonze’s petition against Onyedum be dismissed because she had served a 5-year ban for drug use by WADA and was not eligible to contest as stipulated in the guidelines. Athletics was one of the hottest federations whose election was so heated. In view of these decisions, no one is sure whether some sanity and peace will return to the largest sport in the country.
Solomon Ogba was returned as sponsor. The case of 1980 Moscow Olympic sprinter, Hameed Adio was dismissed. Rosa Collins and Brown Ebewele were earlier reinstated as representatives of NAWIS and Technical representatives respectively.
The case of Haruna Bako and that of Charles Yayock of the North west zone were both dismissed for lack of merit.
In a quick reaction on telephone, Mr Onyedum said, “I am happy that justice has been allowed to prevail. Athletics is the chord that brought us this far. Our interest is to make the sport a big career prospects for the young folks of this country. Athletics’ development will be squarely faced especially in the South East where we shall bring all the stakeholders to make our region return to a leadership spot. I owe this rise to God and athletics.”
Traditional sports: In Traditional Sports, the election of Mallam Usman Musa as the duly elected President was upheld and not Mohammed Garba Lere whose ‘election’ was also announced in a multiple list that populated the nation’s news waves.
The Committee was furnished with fresh pictorial evidence and interviews with those at the election venue proving that Musa Usman won the election and he was so declared winner.
The Federation is however mandated to appoint an international representative as the committee affirmed the reversal of Mohammed Abdullahi who is the current President of Archery.
Rugby: The petitioner, Ntiense Williams, presented a historic analysis of Rugby activities in Nigeria and called on the Ministry to use the guidelines used by other sports federations in the 13th June elections. The election into Rugby was the only one that took place at the National Stadium on Thursday evening.
Weightlifting: The election of Hon Yahaya Mohammed as President was upheld as well as that of the Vice President Emeka Daniel Nwankwo. There will be no fresh elections in that federation ruled the committee.
As at the time of going to press, delegates and stakeholders of the sports were busy waiting at the stadium along side Mr Tony Okowa who is the Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission.
Judo & Cycling: The Presidential election in Judo was upheld. The committee ruled that bye election in the South west should take place.
Petition by Alhaji Mohammed Sule of the Cycling federation was dismissed as he failed to pay Appeals processing fees within 48 hours of making his appeal.
Taekwondo: The committee ruled that there will also be no fresh elections in Taekwondo. Though, the ex-officio and philanthropist representative, George Ashiru, was re-instated as a board member. He was the immediate past President of the Federation.
In Table Tennis, Kayode Ayodele was also reinstated as Athletes’ representative.
Gymnastics: Although, the Harmonisation Committee ordered fresh elections to be held in Gymnastics as the electoral Committee members petitioned that the conduct of the previous elections were held under duress. New electoral committee members will be appointed for the election.
By extension, this is the only federation whose Board will not be inaugurated. That is why the statement from the Ministry of Sports said 31 federation boards will be inaugurated.
Inauguration: According to the statement, all 31 National Sports Federations will be inaugurated on 21st July, 2017 at the National Stadium Abuja at 2pm.
Readers will recall that www.gongnews.net had in an investigative report told you of the outcomes of the Arbitration and Harmonisation committee. See http://gongnews.net/election-ministerial-review-panel-may-upturn-appealspetititons-decisions/
Watch out for more details you won’t get anywhere but here.