How Habu Gumel Outsmarted His Opponents To Clinch NOC Presidency For Another Four-year Term
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…Promises Formidable Financial Platform, Unity Of Purpose
By Peter Ejiofor
Habu Gumel, the just-re-elected President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), has promised that the new executive committee would endeavour to position the NOC family on a formidable financial platform to deliver stakeholders’ expectations.
Gumel, the incumbent President, was re-elected on Thursday at the NOC Congress in Jalingo, Taraba State, having defeated a former Minister of Sports, Sanni Ndanusa with 21 to 19 votes.
At the elections, Gumel secured 21 out of the 40 votes, more than 50 per cent in the keenly contested president’s seat which was the climax of the body’s congress that also had other positions vied for.
His victory marks his third consecutive term and a fifth term overall for the Jigawa-born IOC member, whose last eight years in office have attracted heavy criticism.
He was first elected as NOC president in 2002 and was in office until 2010. He returned in 2014 and was in office till 2022 before winning another term at the election.
“One thing that this new administration will endeavour to focus on in the next four years is how to position the NOC family on a formidable financial platform that will ensure the delivery of stakeholders’ expectations. This is one objective that we all have to jointly pursue vigorously.
“The Executive Board will be meeting in the near future to establish the key Commissions and articulate programmes under the new dispensation.
“You have just chosen a team to serve you, and I must confess that this is an onerous task that will require the full commitment of us all if we are to meet the lofty expectations of the various stakeholders in the Olympic Movement and our sports generally,’’ he said.
“I am particularly grateful to you all for the confidence reposed in me and my colleagues to serve you again for the next quadrennial.
“The ballot system has come and gone but let me emphasise that these elections were not meant to divide the Olympic Family, but rather to strengthen our democratic process and further strengthen our sporting value principles, as one harmonious unit, in line with globally acceptable best practices.
“The Olympiad is already in process with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games less than two years from now. Therefore, I enjoin all stakeholders in our national sports system to come together with the single purpose of ensuring a glorious outing of our contingent, both at the Olympic Games and other international competitions.’’
Gumel, therefore congratulated all participants in the congress and expressed the hope to profit from the combination of their wealth of experiences and advice as “we strive to further reposition our sports and Olympism in this renewed mandate’’.
“As I did mention earlier, we count on the support of all stakeholders, especially the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, all our distinguished Patrons, Trustees and member-National Federations in the challenges of our new assignment,’’ he said.
In the other contested positions, Solomon Ogba of the Bobsled & Skeleton Federation won 24 votes to emerge as the 1st Vice-President against Francis Orbih of badminton who had 16.
Ishaku Tikon of the Table Tennis Federation ran unopposed for the Second Vice-President position with 38 votes, while the athletes’ representative in the body and former D’Tigers captain, Olumide Oyedeji secured 24 votes to emerge as third Vice-President against Daniel Igali of the Wrestling Federation who had 15 votes.
Maria Wophill of the Athletics Federation had one vote.
Olabisi Joseph of the School Sports Federation emerged as the 4th Vice-President after polling 23 votes to beat Rahinatu Garba 9, Hauwa Akinyemi 6, Nneka Ikem 2 and Rosaline Okah 0.
The body elected Tunde Popoola of the Hockey Federation as its General Secretary with 24 votes and Abdullahi Mohammed as the Deputy General Secretary unopposed with 40 votes.
Musa Kida, the President, Nigerian Basketball Federation was elected Treasurer with 22 votes against Bappa Aliyu’s 18, and Tony Nezianya as Public Relations Officer (PRO).
The Electoral Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Galadima confirmed the return of the elected officers who will run the affairs of the NOC for the next four years.
Nezianya, a veteran journalist and sports administrator, has served the NOC in the capacity for which he was elected for eight years between 2001 and 2009.
He has more than 34 years of public service experience in the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), most of which he spent in service of humanity through sports, and it is believed that he is a trustworthy friend for guidance and advice.
He has served meritoriously in many sports codes as an executive board member – the first was in the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN); the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) and currently the Nigerian Triathlon Union (NTU).