The Nigeria University Games Association began under a cloud of controversy on Saturday with the organisers, athletes and technical official complaining about the standard of the facilities provided by hosts Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
The accreditation and accommodation of teams for the Games was said be a shambles while the process of determining the eligibility of athletes for the competition was marred by confusion, forcing the organisers to call off the match between UAM and the Kaduna State University.
The match was aimed at declaring the Games open, but the clash was shifted to Sunday due to the myriad of problems facing the competition. With the hosts battling to fix the persisting problems, the organisers decided to postpone the match until today.
However, the body decided to suspend the competition over it called “technical hitches”.
NUGA Secretary-General, Bola Orodele, who announced the suspension on Sunday in Makurdi, said the action became necessary because “both athletes and contingent officials have not been accredited as required by the guidelines of the Games”.
“The temporary suspension will enable both the officials of NUGA and the host university to sort the technical hitches out,” Orodele was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying.
NUGA President Prof. Stephen Hanafyelto blamed the confusion on the ICT Unit of the association, which “defied my instructions over accreditation”.
He alleged that the ICT Unit refused to heed to his instructions on the procedure for accreditation, preferring to deal with the Secretary-General.
“If the problems are not resolved before Monday, we will have no option but to cancel the Games,” Hanafyelto was quoted by NAN as saying.
But one of our correspondents learnt that the temporary suspension might snowballed into the cancellation of the Games if the hosts fail to complete the facilities in the four centres earmarked for the competition.
UAM Vice-Chancellor Prof. Emmanuel Kucha said the university should not be punished “for the sins of others”.
He said, “The problem is between the Secretary-General and the President of NUGA, and not the host institution; we have done all they asked us to do. We provided facilities and venues.
“How can they take such an arbitrary decision after we have spent so much money? Do they know where we got the money from?
“As far as UAM is concerned, we are ready. We have done our part. We should not be victims of any disagreement between two NUGA officials.”
The Information Officer of the university Dzekar Fanafa, who admitted there were problems with the hosting of the competition, said the Games would not be cancelled.
“Forget all the rumours milling around that the game has been suspended, there is no reason for suspension,” he told one of our correspondents on Sunday.
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