Court dismisses ministry’s appeal, affirms Gusau as AFN president

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Friday affirmed Ibrahim Gusau as the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

The court dismissed the appeal filed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development challenging the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which recognised Gusau as the AFN president, saying it lacked merit.

Justice A. I. Chikere of the Federal High Court 3, Abuja Division, had July 1 nullified Gusau’s suspension and impeachment by the board of AFN loyal to the federation’s vice president Olamide George, and recognised Gusau as president of the AFN.

The court also set aside all other actions taken by the AFN faction led by George, while also nullifying his (George’s) appointment as AFN president.

The sports ministry, however, filed for stay of execution and appealled the ruling.

The Appeal Court, however, struck out the stay of execution July 29, after the sports ministry withdrew the application and reserved judgment for a later date after hearing the appeal by the ministry.

The AFN had been engulfed in a leadership crisis, which forced Gusau to declare autonomy from the sports ministry, after its congress at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu, Anambra State, last December.

The congress also sacked six of its board members, including George, and appointed a new General Director independent of the sports ministry.

Director General of the AFN, Siminialayi Pepple, described the judgment as “a victory for athletes.”

“We give God all the praise. Athletes are the winners,” Pepple said.

But media aide to the sports minister, John Joshua-Akanji, declined to comment on the court ruling, saying, “I don’t have any comment, it’s a legal issue and I can’t comment on that, it’s the Legal Department that will react.”

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