*We will not mind seeking legal damages if these lies persists
Barrister Solomon Dalung has debunked claims by NAWIS representative on the Board of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Rosa Collins, that she was robbed of her presidential mandate describing it as falsehood and a ploy to mask her inability to emerge as president of the federation.
This followed accusations in the media that the Minister cancelled the bye elections as decided by the Electoral Appeals Committee into the Athletics Federation just to favour some unnamed groups.
“I do not wish to join issues with aggrieved persons over their defeat in the just concluded National Sports Federations elections, but I need to clear the air on some presumed falsehood about decisions taken by the Appeals Committee.
“The Appeals Committee entertained petitions from aggrieved persons after the elections and took decisions based on the facts available to them.”
Barrister Dalung explained that in view of additional information provided by those affected by committee’s decisions which showed clear evidence that the Appeals Committee was misguided, some decisions were upheld while others were dismissed.
“In the Athletics Federation for instance, there was a petition by one Charles Yayock from the North West zone who petitioned that he was denied the right to contest the zonal congress and he had presidential ambition. He alleged that he was even denied the right to contest the presidential election.
“The Appeals Committee said it was unlawful exclusion and that it affected the election, so the election was cancelled.
Thereafter, the winner of the North West zone election, Ibrahim Gusau, who was affected now counter-petitioned the panel and provided evidence of participation of Yayock where he was cleared to participate in the zonal election and got 1 vote against himself who got 6, therefore, the appeal by Yayock to hold a re-run was dismissed.
“In the case of Rosa Collins, her name was replaced by Dr Gloria Obajimi who did not contest the NAWIS election. The Appeals Committee reviewed the case with evidence and re-instated Collins with Brown Ebewele who was also replaced by Gad Onwuamegbu on the Technical and Coaches committee.
“Collins alleged that she was not allowed to contest the presidential elections but the winner, Ibrahim Gusau, again provided additional evidence of Rosa Collins who claimed she was unlawfully excluded. The evidence showed that Collins also contested the same election and got 2 votes against 48 won by Gusau.
“On the strength of that, the Appeals Committee in their review judgment recommended to the Harmonisation Committee that the facts outweighed the allegation and therefore the election should be upheld since both candidates duly took part in the election.
“It was the review report of the Appeals Committee that came to the Harmonisation Committee which in turn took the entire reviewed appeals one after the other and affirmed them,” Dalung explained.
He concluded that the Legal Department of the Ministry will not hesitate to file legal proceedings against individuals or group of people who have initiated a smear campaign against the Ministry rather than taking their defeat in good faith by joining hands with all other stakeholders in their various federations to develop the sport.