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Protests trail Sports Ministry’s decision on federations’ re-run elections


Ibrahim Gusau

The decision by the Sports Ministry to abort the re-run elections of some federations yesterday has not gone down well with some stakeholders in the sports fraternity.

Five federations were originally scheduled to hold re-run elections into their various boards yesterday following issues raised by the appeals committee about the credibility of the initial polls held on June 13. The affected federations were Athletics, Judo, Gymnastics, Weightlifting and Taekwondo.

Delegates had done their accreditation inside the Abuja National Stadium yesterday morning, when the news came from the sports ministry that the elections had been postponed indefinitely.

But the ministry later sent a release saying that only elections into the hoards of rugby and gymnastics would hold yesterday. The implication is that the other three federations’ polls have been upheld and the inauguration of all the 31 federations will hold today.

Explaining its decision to go on with today’s inauguration, the ministry said: “In some major decisions taken, the Arbitration and Harmonization committee upheld elections in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Weightlifting Federation.

“Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau’s election as President of the federation was upheld as well as the North west zone where he emerged from while Patrick Estate Onyedum’s election as South East representative was also upheld. His challenger Christy Opara Asonze was dismissed because she had served a five-year ban for drug use by WADA and was not eligible to contest as stipulated in the guidelines.

“Solomon Ogba was returned also as sponsor/ Ex-officio as of AFN as approved by the federation, while the case of Hamid Adio was dismissed. Rosa Collins and Brown Ebewele were earlier reinstated as representatives of NAWIS and Technical representatives.

“The case of Haruna Bako and that of Charles Yayock of the North west Zone were both dismissed for lack of merit.“In Traditional Sports, the election of Mallam Usman Musa as the duly elected President was upheld and not Mohammed Garba Lere.

“In 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 June 13 elections. The elections into Rugby are ongoing at about now.

“In Weightlifting, the election of 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.

“The Presidential election in Judo was upheld. The committee ruled that bye-election in the South west should take place. There will also be no fresh elections in Taekwondo as ex-officio and philanthropist representative George Ashiru was reinstated as a board member. 

“In Table Tennis, Kayode Ayodele was also reinstated as Athletes’ representative.”It said the Harmonization Committee ordered fresh elections in Gymnastics as the electoral committee members petitioned that the previous polls were held under duress, adding that new electoral committee members will be appointed for the election.

Those who spoke with The Guardian yesterday expressed sadness over the decision, describing the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung as ‘push-and-follow leader’.“How can the Sports Minister take every Nigerian for a ride,” a coach who was in Abuja for the re-run election, said in a chat with The Guardian. “This is unacceptable and the minister should tell Nigerians that he has special interest in some candidates.”

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Ibrahim Gusau
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