The rift among board members of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) came to an end yesterday following a reconciliatory meeting summoned by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC). At the end, the suspension placed on the AFN president, Ibrahim Gusau by some of the board members for his alleged involvement in the IAAF’s ‘missing’ $130,000 was lifted.
Some of the board members, who spoke with The Guardian at the end of the meeting, said the move was to save the nation’s athletics from collapse, particularly to have a good preparation for the African Games in Morocco and World Athletics Championships in Doha.
There had been sharp disagreements among the AFN board members since IAAF threatened to ban Nigeria following the delay in refunding the $130,000 that was erroneously paid into the AFN’s account by the international body in 2017. Gusau was suspended by some of the board members, who set up a five-man panel to probe his alleged involvement in the ‘missing’ money.
But Gusau broke his silence a few days ago, as he urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Police and other national investigative agencies to probe both the AFN and the Sports Ministry to unravel the missing money saga.
The Guardian learnt yesterday that the NOC pleaded with the aggrieved AFN board members to temper justice with mercy in the interest of Nigerian sports.
After signing a peace accord, the AFN board members were said to have moved into another meeting, where new appointments were made into the various committees.
An argument was said to have arisen when some of the board members insisted that Sunday Adeleye be removed as head of the Technical Committee since over 120 athletes had already petitioned the sports ministry calling for his removal.
“But Gusau insisted on having Adeleye as the Technical Director,” one of the board members said. “He then created a Performance Committee to be headed by Brown Ebewele.”
Another official stated yesterday that Ebewele was not satisfied with the new arrangement.