By Ise-Oluwa Ige, Abuja
The incumbent Minister of Sports, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, yesterday, begged an Abuja high court sitting in Maitama to dismiss a suit instituted by former Chairman of Gombe State Football Association, Alhaji Gara Gombe, seeking to stop him from contesting election into the office of the President of National Olympic Committee (NOC).
Gombe had alleged in his suit that the Sports Minister was not qualified to contest the election having allegedly not met the mandatory four-year requirement in an executive position in the Commission of an International Federation, Continental Federation or/ and the Commonwealth Games Federation.
He had also accused him of forgery.
But the Sports Minister who denied both allegations invited the court to terminate hearing in the suit on sundry grounds including that Gombe lacked the locus standi to invoke the judicial powers of the court, being not an executive member of any sporting organisation and that the issue brought to court is not justiceable.
Besides, he told the court that Gombe commenced the pending suit vide a wrong approach.
He said in the event the court decided the preliminary objection against him, Ndanusa told the court that contrary to Gombeâ€™s allegation, he said he had met the mandatory four-year requirement in an executive position in an international federation which qualified him to contest the election.
On the allegations of forgery against him by Gara Gombe, the minister informed the court that the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) clarified the matter via its letter dated November 25, 2009, â€œwherein they stated that the signature of their president was not forged.
â€œSequel to the allegations of forgery reported to the IGP by the plaintiff, a panel was set up by the National Sports Commission (NSC) to look into the allegations of forgery of the documents submitted by him (Ndanusa) for the NOC elections, wherein the 2nd defendant was exonerated of forgery,â€ he added.
The case though was slated for hearing late last year but for the inability of the plaintiff to serve all parties the court processes in the case in accordance with the law.
The election which is the subject-matter of the suit before the court was initially scheduled to be held on December 9 in Dutse, Jigawa State but it was later postponed.
The trial judge, Justice Othman Musa adjourned the case till yesterday to enable counsel to the plaintiff move his exparte application for leave to serve the originating processes in the case on the NOC.
But when the case was called yesterday, Gombeâ€™s counsel was nowhere to be found.
The matter has been adjourned again till January 7, to afford Gombe the last chance of moving his application.
Should Gombeâ€™s application be moved and granted on January 7, being a simple and innocuous one, the major challenge standing on the way of the hearing of the substantive suit would be the preliminary objction filed by Ndanusa.
The success or failure of the objection will determine whether the suit would be heard on its merit, at all or not.
In the objection, Ndanusa is asking the court to throw out Gombeâ€™s suit because he lacked the locus standi to sue since he is not an executive member of any sporting organization affiliated to the NOC or a member of the NOC body as to confer him the standi.He also said the subject matter in the suit even relates to the internal activities of the NOC which makes it injusticeable