The Chairman of the Nigeria Olympic Committee’s reconciliatory committee, Francis Orbih has revealed that the suspended president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Ibrahim Gusau shunned peace moves.
Other members of the committee are President of the Taekwando Federation of Nigeria, Binga Margaret, a co-opted NOC executive member, Toyin Aluko and Emmanuel Nweri, who serves as secretary.
It will be noted that the committee declared the call for autonomy by the AFN illegal, while endorsing the removal of Sunday Adeleye as the Technical Director.
“We tried to manage the whole crisis, but they were just being unnecessarily difficult. Apart from football and basketball, no other federation has collected as much money as the Athletics Federation of Nigeria has collected from the ministry and they are talking about declaring autonomy,”
“We tried to look for a way to handle the crisis, we tried to talk to the stakeholders; there were too many issues. A lot of members had too many scores to settle with each other and this made it impossible for reconciliation to take place, but we identified one or two things which were the main issues,” he said.
According to Punch, Gusau was urged to step down on his hardline posture but refused to heed to the advice from the panel.
“We called Gusau and told him, ‘You are the president, as a leader, you must learn to stoop to conquer, do one or two things to appease the warring sides so that you can come back and patch things up but he refused.
“If he had accepted our proposal, we would have been able to find a meeting ground because we don’t think we need this distraction now, the Olympics is coming, and we can’t be fighting for power.
“Where do you think they derived the power to declare autonomy from the ministry from? Anyone going outside Nigeria to represent the country in any competition must do so with the support of the government and the ministry.
“Even the NOC depends on the ministry for grants, so, you cannot be depending on the ministry and you declare autonomy.”
The faction named the federation’s vice president Olamide George as the acting president.
Gusau, however, presided over a congress of the AFN in Awka, Anambra State on December 5, where George and five other members of the board were suspended for two years for “anti-federation activities, a gross violation of the provisions of the federation’s constitution.”