By Jacob Ajom
The last may not have been heard on the 2009 Nigeria Olympic Committee elections scheduled for December 9 in Dutse, Jigawa State, as the two main combatants, incumbent NOC President, Engineer Habu Gumel and the Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Engineer Sani Ndanusa, are still at daggers drawn.
Right now, an air of uncertainty has enveloped the entire exercise as the National Sports CommissionÂ has suspended Engineer Gumel as chairman of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation.
But the NOC is sticking to its guns, declaring Gumelâ€™s suspension as â€œnull and voidâ€ and against the spirit of sportsmanship.
With the unfolding scenario, stakeholders are at a loss on whether the elections would go ahead as scheduled.
The secretary-general of the NOC, Banji Oladapo, told Sports Vanguard at the National Stadium, Lagos, yesterday, that â€œthe elections would go ahead as scheduled.â€
He was affirmative. â€œNinth remains 9th, adding, â€œwe are not changing that date.â€
In fact, he told this reporter that, â€œif I had enough time I would have liked to see you in my office but I donâ€™t have time now because, I am supposed to be in Jigawa (venue of the election) right now.â€
The Engineer Habu Gumel-led NOC executive committee penultimate week announced the disqualification of the minister from contesting for the presidency of the NOC.
Following the ministryâ€™s suspension of Gumel, the NOC executive committee said in a statement signed December 5, by its public relations officer, Tony Nezianya, that â€œThe purported suspension is null and void. It is a gross violation of International sports conventions, the NOC Constitution, the Charter and direct government interference in the running of the Olympic Movement.
â€œThe Annual General Meeting/election that will usher in a new Executive Committee has been duly scheduled and will go ahead as scheduled under the leadership of Engr. Habu Gumel, OONâ€.