AFN officials at war with sports minister over suspension of Vice President

Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sport.

• Only Congress Has Such Power, Says Esan
The silent war between some board members of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and the Sports Minister Solomon Dalung over his alleged interference in the day-to-day running of the federation may be heading to a dangerous twist.

In the past few days, some top officials of the AFN had been having a running battle with Dalung following his decision to set up a panel to investigate how the sum of $150,000 sent by word athletics body IAAF disappeared from AFN’s coffer. The officials say it was not the duty of Dalung to investigate issues concerning the AFN.

While the dust raised over the IAAF $150,000 is yet to settle, another burning issue has cropped up, with the sports ministry suspending AFN Vice President, Hon Olamide George. Some board members have vowed to resist it at all cost.

George, who is the chairman of Ondo State House of Assembly Youth and Sports Committee, was suspended by the Sports Ministry pending the review of his alleged involvement in the selling of drug performance enhancing drugs to an athlete, Folashade Abugun in 2010.

A panel set up by the sports minister to investigate the issue had cleared Olamide George of any wrongdoing before he was suspended on March 1.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the representative of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria on the AFN board, Dare Esan said that it was illegal for the sports ministry to suspend George.

“In the first place, it was illegal for the sports minister to set up a panel to investigate George,” Esan said. “Olamide George was elected by the Congress into the AFN board. It is only the Congress that has the power to suspend him. Even the AFN board does not have such power not to talk of the sports minister. We need to get things right in Nigerian sports,” Esan stated.

Other board members who spoke with The Guardian yesterday tongue-lashed the sports minster for ‘hijacking’ the AFN.

A letter made available to The Guardian yesterday, signed by Mrs. Tayo Oreweme (chairman of the panel) and Amechi Akawo (secretary of the panel) cleared Olamide George in his alleged involvement in selling of drug performance enhancing drugs to a Nigerian athlete, Folashade Abugun in 2010.

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