By Jacob Ajom
The protracted crisis that culminated in the conduct of elections into the executive committee of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Thursday in Lagos is far from over as the News Agency of Nigeria reported Friday that the said elections had been annulled by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The report claimed that a new election, which will be supervised by a top official of the IOC, Mr Mustapha Berraf, who is the First Vice-President of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) will now be held on Sept. 23 in Lagos.
The IOC in a letter dated Sept. 17 and sent to the outgoing President and Secretary-General of NOC, Habu Gumel and Olabanji Oladapo respectively, said that it “has just been advised about the organisation of a meeting on Sept. 16, 2010 in the absence of the legitimate authorities of the NOC”.
The IOC said it would not recognise the meeting and the election held during the session.
Nigeria’s participation in major high profile Games, including next month’s Commonwealth Games in India, stand under threat if the crisis remained unresolved.
The letter said: “The IOC and ANOCA do not and will not recognise the meeting held on Sept. 16, 2010 which was not called by the incumbent office bearers and was thus illegally constituted.
“Therefore, we consider the election held on Sept. 16 null and void.”
The IOC said its decision was based on two fundamental issues bordering on the postponement of the Sept. 16 Elective General Assembly (EGA) was done correctly, following the advice of its legal department.
The letter said the IOC’s Legal Department had advised that no election should take place until the petition before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) was known.
The IOC said the point was clearly stated in the IOC’s last letter to the NOC.
The IOC said that on the receipt of CAS decision, Oladapo immediately called for an EGA scheduled for Sept. 23.
The organisation said “we will await the results from the legitimate EGA of NOC, which will hold on Sept. 23, in order to officially recognise the office bearers, who will be elected on that occasion.
“We encourage all members of the General Assembly to take part in this meeting. In the meantime, we will advise our partners and stakeholders in the Olympic Movement at large that they should continue to recognise the office bearers, which officially are recognised by the IOC.
We will keep them informed about the follow-up and the results of the elections on Sept. 23. This is particularly important in relation to the future participation of Nigerian athletes in all high level competitions, not least the next Commonwealth Games. ”
The newly elected executive of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Friday reacted to the purported annulment of the September 16 elections by the International Olympic Committee. Speaking on phone with Sports Vanguard, spokesman of NOC, Tony Ubani said, “The whole issues are being sorted out.
The Nigeria Olympic Committee, as an affiliate of the International Olympic Committee cannot enter into argument with its international parent body.
“The whole matter is being sorted out and the outcome will be for the good of Nigerian sports.
“As I speak, all parties concerned are putting heads together to harmonise our various positions. The ultimate winner will be Nigerian sports.”