Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has described last week’s decisions of the National Sports Federations’ Electoral Appeals Committee as unprecedented and a landmark achievement for the ongoing sports reforms.
The minister made the remark following the decisions of the committee headed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Abdulrazak Salau, to overturn presidential elections in four federations namely Athletics, Gymnastics, Wrestling and Taekwondo.
Dalung who had charged the Elections Appeals Committee to do all in its purview to achieve free and fair elections said that the decisions to hold fresh elections in some federations showed transparency and a level playing field for all aspirants.
“We were reliably informed that some aspirants who had already won in their various institutions like NAWIS, Coaches/ Technical Representatives, Sponsors and Ex-Officios were maliciously replaced by strange persons who were not even present during the elections.
“I had promised that all who were unlawfully disenfranchised will be reinstated to their rightful positions.
“We will continue to push for the right things to be done to ensure that we get the right leadership to steer the federations. Sacrificing government nominees to get the popular stakeholders of various sports to man the affairs of the federations will eventually pay off,” Dalung said.
In its ruling, the Appeals Committee annulled the election of Ibrahim Shehu Gusau as the president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria as well as his election from the North West zone.
Similarly, there will be fresh elections in the South East Zone while Rosa Collins and Brown Ebewele were restored to the board of the federation as NAWIS and Technical representatives.
Fresh elections for the presidential, vice presidential and zonal positions into Gymnastics will be conducted as the Electoral Committee members petitioned that their decisions were subverted while election was held under duress.
In Table Tennis, Kehinde Olajide was reinstated as Athletes’ representative.
Taekwondo saw the return of George Ashiru as ex-officio while the federation was ordered to hold fresh presidential elections and zonal elections in the South West.
Judo Federation will hold bye-elections in the South West too.
The Appeals Committee also ruled that the weightlifting federation should conduct fresh elections into the post of President and Vice President.
Petitions from Cricket, Traditional Sports, Volleyball, Handball and kickboxing were dismissed for lack of merit.
Other names reinstated include Solid Works as Sponsor of AFN, Dele Ogundokun as Representative of Coaches and Technical and Sulley Gwargwarwa as Ex-officio of Darts Federation and Prof Morakinyo Babatunde for Philanthropist Volleyball Federation.
The committee however said elections into the Rugby federation as well as all other bye elections will be held on July 7, 2017.
It declared the Basketball Federation elections held in Abuja valid as it was held under the supervision of the two monitoring bodies with no petition received from any aggrieved stakeholder.
According to the Permanent Secretary, Abdulrazak Salau, “The Basketball Federation’s election held in Abuja was widely televised and documented and monitored by the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports”.
Inauguration of all federations will now hold on July 20, 2017 to allow enough time for the bye-elections.
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