... Minister does not have right to suspend me - George
Olamide George, member representing Akure North constituency in the Ondo State House of Assembly has been suspended as Vice President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria over alleged involvement in doping.
News Agency of Nigeria reported that George's suspension was announced by the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung.
Dalung, on Tuesday, inaugurated a five-member committee to investigate the alleged violation of doping rules and improper conduct in the ministry.
Inaugurating the committee, the minister charged the committee to be fair and thorough in its investigation on the matter that has brought lots of misconceptions in the ministry.
Mr. Dalung informed the committee that Olamide George, Vice President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, and Sade Abugan, an athlete, were alleged to have violated doping rules during the 2012 Commonwealth Games in India.
He said the issue was addressed by the ministry after the 2012 Commonwealth Games and two persons were indicted but only one person was sanctioned then.
"This action has continued to generate a number of petitions to the ministry and we have decided to look into the matter to find lasting solutions to it,'' he said.
Mr. Dalung urged the committee to establish whether the Nigerian government over the years has acted in a manner to cover up the issue.
"The committee has the power to dig into the matter and call anybody that is found wanting to appear before the committee irrespective of the person's position.
"We need to do all that is possible to clear the name of the ministry and ensure that we do the right thing at all times'' he said.
Mr. Dalung gave the committee three weeks within which to complete its investigations and submit the report to the ministry.
He said the committee would be funded properly to ensure that all investigations were carried out adequately.
Responding on behalf of the committee members, Pius Oteh, Chairman of the committee, pledged to put in their best to deliver on the mandate given to them.
He commended the minister for the confidence reposed on members of the committee and promised not to disappoint the minister.
"We are not unaware of the negative impact of doping on the image of an athlete and the country in general.
"We will do our best to ensure that this problem that has lingered over the years will be finally resolved,'' he said.
Other members of the committee included: Danjuma Mohammed, Oloruntoba Amos, Johnny Hamaking and Olusegun Akinlotan as secretary.
It is clear to everybody that the minister is tribalistic, says George
Speaking with SUNSHINE HERALD, Mr. George accused the minister of being tribalistic.
The member representing Akure North constituency in the Ondo State House of Assembly said the minister doesn't have right to suspend him.
"The minister does not have right to suspend an elected member. There are procedures you must follow when you are trying to introduce suspension.
"First thing is, this is a case that happened eight years ago, eight solid years. The same minister under the ministry conducted my screening, if they have found something guilty about me eight years ago, I think I should not have survived the screening of contesting for the vice president of the federation.
"The same minister, we traveled to watch the world championship in London, and all these allegations they are bringing in the ministry, they did not do anything about it.
"When you are talking about doping, AFN has a governing council, which is IAAF, the same thing like NFF and FIFA, so if there are anything you must do, the first thing the minister should have done is to write the federation to set up anti-doping committee to investigate what transpired. It is the report of the anti-doping committee in line with IAAF that the minister will receive a copy of it, not the minister should be the one deciding the somebody must be suspended or somebody must be investigated.
"Only because we raised alarm about $150,000 that caused disunity in our federation, and up till now, the minister has not responded to us. They can't shut us down.
"IAAF is aware of this matter; the case has been registered with CAS already. For me, a committee has been put in place on this matter that has exonerated me that I know nothing about it under his own ministry. Why didn't the minister jettison the report of the doping committee put in place initially?
"The minister should not be tribalistic. It is clear to everybody that the minister is tribalistic. We are telling the minister to go and return the $150,000 taken by him in our federation. All this he is doing will not save the situation," he said.