By John Egbokhan
Despite his disqualification by the Executive Committee of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Sports Minister, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, insists he is eligible to contest for the NOC presidency at the forthcoming election.
This is even as the Confederation of African Tennis has added fillip to his eligibility.In a letter from CAT president, Tarak Cheriff,Â addressed to Secretary-General of NOC dated November 17, 2009,CAT stated thus; â€œWith reference to our confirmation letter dated 3rd November, 2009, we would like you to record that Engr. Sani M. Ndanusa is serving the office of the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) as 1st vice-president since 2003 till date and as President of the CAT Zone II (West African region) since 2003 till date as wellâ€.
Referring to the letter yesterday, Ndanusa pointed out that contrary to NOC Executive Committeeâ€™s stance that he had not served the requisite four years in the Executive of a continental body, he had actually been in the CAT executive for the past six years.
â€œIt is amazing how far people can go just to sit tight in office. I wouldnâ€™t have applied for that position if I was not qualified. You can see from the available documents that all the conditions upon which they disqualified me are unconstitutional and baselessâ€, he said.
If there were further doubts as to his eligibility on this ground, the Official Year Book of CAT (The CAT Year 2008) suffices. On page 5 of the publication, Ndanusaâ€™s status was highlighted alongside that of president Cherif.
Ndanusa continues: â€œArticle 26.1.1 of the NOC constitution states that â€˜the candidate must have been president of a National Federation for not less than four yearsâ€™. I have been NTF president for eight years. What else are they talking about?â€
Meanwhile, on the heels of the suspension of the NTF board by the NOC executive committee, the NTF in a press release yesterday, observed that the elections into the board of the Federation was conclusive and followed due process.
In a related development, the president of Nigeria Judo Federation, Hon. Isa Musa Matori, has questioned the rationale behind the NOC executive committee screening the contestants.
His words; â€œHow can one be contesting an election and still be involved in the screening? All of them in that executive committee are contesting in this election. Does this not promote foul play? Is it not possible for one to wield his power and disqualify his opponent? It was obvious the whole exercise was targeted at Ndanusa. All the basis upon which he was disqualified are baseless. It makes rubbish of the whole exerciseâ€.