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Flight hitches delay WA, AFN crisis resolution meeting in Abuja

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Team Nigeria may miss the 2020 World Athletics Championship if WA fail to resolve the AFN crisis

Only one official from World Athletics (WA) arrived Abuja on time yesterday for the crisis resolution meeting with the two warring factions of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). The other official was said to have experienced flight hitches.

The two top officials of WA were scheduled to arrive Abuja yesterday to mediate in the leadership crisis rocking the AFN.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that the meeting was rescheduled for today.

“We are here in Abuja waiting for the arrival of the second WA official. One of them has come but the second has flight hitches. He might arrive this night (yesterday). So, the meeting has been rescheduled to tomorrow (today), an official of the AFN told The Guardian in a telephone conversation.

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Since last year, the AFN has not known peace following a battle for supremacy between two factions, one led by Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau and the other by Olamide George.

Gusau was elected as the president of the body during the last federations’ polls, while George was his assistant. But along the line, the principal officers fell apart, leading to the impeachment of Gusau by some of the members over alleged corrupt practices. George became the acting president of the body, a move that plunged the federation into crisis.

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 said it was merely a declaratory judgment that defined rights of parties, insisting that it was not implementable. They later appealed against the judgment.

The decision by WA to wade into the AFN crisis is coming amid the dark clouds surrounding Nigeria’s participation in the World Athletics Relays billed to hold in Silesia, Poland soon.

The World Athletics (WA) released names of countries that would participate in the event last week with Nigeria conspicuously missing on the list as it failed to send its entries for the event.

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