The Federal High Court Abuja has affirmed that Engineer Ibrahim Gusau remains the president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
It will be recalled the Olamide George faction allegedly removed Gusau as the president of AFN on 5th December, 2019 after holding an emergency board meeting in Abuja.
In a suit filed by Chinedu Gerald Udora, Esq. Counsel to Ibrahim Gusau, the Court in a landmark judgment delivered last Wednesday by Hon. Justice A. I. Chikere of the Federal High Court 3 in Abuja Division, nullified the purported suspension and subsequent impeachment of Ibrahim Gusau as well as all other actions and resolutions taken by the Hon. Olamide George’s led AFN.
The court also reinstated Sunday Adeleye as the Technical Director while declaring that the purported appointment of Olamide George as Acting President of the AFN is a nullity and went ahead to set it aside.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development through the legal department said it will appeal the decision.
Ina statement signed by the director of legal, Danjuma Muhammad said “the judgement is a declaratory judgement and the ministry has a right of appeal within 90 days.
Mohammed added that the ministry of sports was taking steps to challenge this judgement and in the process of filing their notice for appeal, as well as a motion seeking a stay of execution of the court’s judgement.
Muhammad also declared, “The civil matter has nothing to do with all the criminal allegations against Gusau before the various investigating agencies. The ministry will explore its rights of appeal within the statutory period allowed by law.”
In another twist, the sports ministry has described as ‘fraudulent’ the claim by Pepple S.Y. that he is the new Director-General of AFN.
A letter entitled ‘Disclaimer of Mr. Pepple S.Y. As Director General (AFN), said: “Mr Pepple S.Y. who is laying a fraudulent claim to be the Director-General of AFN was never second to the AFN by the Ministry as required by law.
The letter signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youths and Sports, Gabriel Aduda further stated: “This is to bring to the notice of the sporting public, MDAs and law enforcement agencies the impersonation of the Office of the Secretary-General of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) by one Mr. Pepple S.Y. who claims to be the Director-General of the Federation.
“Nigeria has 38 National Sporting Federations under the supervision of the Ministry established under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and each Federation is run by its elected Board Members in accordance with its Constitutions without interference from the Ministry.
In each National Sports Federation, the President is the head of the Federation and presides over its meetings and oversees the implementation of the policies and the directives of the Board.
“The Secretary-General is the Chief Administrative and Chief Accounting Officer of the National Sports Federations. There is no nomenclature as the Director-General of any of the National Sports Federations.
“Mr. Pepple S.Y. who is laying a fraudulent claim to be the Director-General of AFN was never seconded to the AFN by the Ministry as required by law.
He has neither worked in any National Sports Federation nor seconded as a Secretary-General. He is hereby declared persona non grata by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and unrecognized by the AFN constitution and code of governance of Nigerian Sporting Federations. Anybody doing business with him is doing so at his/her own risk.”
Responding, Pepple S.Y. said his appointment as the Director General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) was ratified by Congress in line with Article 25 (11) of the Constitution of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria 2017 as amended.
He said the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports failed to avert his mind to the provisions of the amended AFN Constitution, which is the extant instrument currently guiding the operations of the Federation.
He said, “As a Permanent Secretary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will not join issues with him. I will however, clarify the position and the circumstances of my appointment as the Director General of the AFN.
“At a duly convened Congress of the AFN held on December 4, 2019 at Awka, Anambra State, my appointment as the Director General of the AFN, was ratified by Congress in line with Article 25 (11) of the Constitution of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria 2017 as amended.
“It is to be noted that the Constitution of the AFN 2017 was amended and ratified by the Congress and became effective on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 in Awka, Anambra State.
This Constitution provides for the appointment of a Director General by the Board, to be ratified by the Congress”.
He stated that “As it stands, the 2017 Constitution of the AFN which the Permanent Secretary is referring to is no longer in use and it is a misconception to base my appointment on the said Constitution.
“I had since been recognised as the Director General of the AFN by the Confederation of Athletics Associations (CAA) and the World Athletics (WA) to which the AFN is affiliated. The Permanent Secretary may wish to seek legal interpretation instead of maligning my name in the public domain”.