The crisis rocking the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) took a new twist yesterday, as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja (Court 3) affirmed that Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau remains the president of the body. But in a swift reaction, the Olamide George-led AFN board said it would appeal the judgment, adding it is not implementable.
Deciding the suit filed by Chinedu Gerald Udora, Esq., counsel to Gusau, the Court presided over by Justice A. I. Chikere nullified the ‘purported’ suspension and subsequent impeachment of Gusau, as well as all other actions and resolutions taken by the Olamide George-led AFN.
The Court went further to hold that the purported appointment of Olamide George as Acting President of the AFN is a nullity and set it aside.
However, the Olamide George-led AFN board said yesterday it would appeal the judgment.
Reacting to the judgment, the sports ministry said the judgment was merely declaratory and cannot be implemented.
“This judgment is merely a declaratory judgment that defines rights of parties,” the director, Legal Services at the sports ministry, D. A Muhammad, said in a statement, adding, “the ministry has the right of appeal within 90 days.”
According to Muhammad, the judgment “(a) defines the rights of parties; (b) it does not order anything specific to be done, and (c) it does not award any damages.”
He added that the ministry of sports was “taking steps to challenge this judgment and we are in the process of filing our notice for appeal, as well as a motion seeking a stay of execution of the court’s judgment. In the circumstance and out of respect for the judicial process, parties must maintain the status quo pending the determination of the motion.”
Muhammad also declared, “the civil matter has nothing to do with all the criminal allegations against Gusau before the various investigating agencies. The ministry will explore its rights of appeal within the statutory period allowed by law.”
Also reacting to the judgment, one of the stakeholders close to the Olamide George-led board said, “This judgment is merely a declaratory judgment that defines rights of parties. It does not order anything to be done and does not award damages. We will file a notice of Appeal.
“The judgment did not also dwell on Sunday Adeleye at all. The court specifically refused to grant any remedies in favour of Sunday Adeleye because he was not a party to the suit,” he stated.
The Guardian recalls that the impeached AFN president, Gusau, filed a suit against the sports ministry and AFN in March, pleading that his impeachment is reversed.
With George Olamide-led AFN’s notice of appeal and a few weeks to the dissolution of the current AFN board, many athletics followers wondered how Gusau would enjoy the gains from the judgment.