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Federation polls: NOC dares ministry, rejects guidelines

 
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Nigerian News Update » Nigerian Newspapers
Punch Newspaper
 
The sports ministry’s  guidelines for the June 9 national federation elections  have sparked a furious reaction from the Nigeria Olympic Commission, with the NOC issuing a stern warning to the country over the upcoming exercise.

The guidelines released by sports minister Solomon Dalung  at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja last week  dealt a huge blow to federation bosses who are either presidents or vice-presidents of international sports bodies, as they were barred from seeking election  to the office of the president or vice-president of any national federation.

Also,  persons who have served as presidents of federations for two consecutive terms  are not eligible to contest the elections.

NOC president  and International Olympic Committee member Habu  Gumel (Nigeria Volleyball  Federation president);  Sani Ndanusa (Nigeria Tennis Federation president); and Tijjani Umar (Nigeria Basketball Federation president)  come top of the list of the national federation bosses affected by the guidelines.

But the NOC on Wednesday condemned   the guidelines, saying they were  not in accordance with the either the constitutions of the various sports federations or the IOC Charter.

Speaking  after their executive meeting at their National Stadium,  Lagos, secretariat,  the Olympic body   rejected the section of the guidelines (Section 3.2 (i)), which forbids persons holding international posts  from seeking election to become the president or vice-president of any federation, saying it would affect the country.

The body then called for guidelines that conform with the IOC Charter and the constitutions of the international federations.

“The provisions in the guidelines which forbid Nigerian international federation officers from holding offices in national federations will inhibit  the opportunity  of  getting more Nigerians into international federations in the long run,” the NOC Secretary-General Tunde Popoola    said.

The NOC also rejected the composition of the election’s Appeal Committee set up by the sports ministry, calling for the constitution of  “a team   of independent persons to be appointed as members of the Appeal Committee for the purpose of fair hearing”.

Popoola said, “The  composition of the Appeal Committee per the guidelines, which comprises mainly appointees of the ministry with one NOC member, is not in accordance with  the principle of fair hearing.”

 The former national hockey player said the NOC was out to correct the wrongs of the past as he admitted that the country had been violating international rules in national federation elections.

“We have been lying and we want to ensure that we follow the international guidelines in these elections,” Popoola said.

 He   said  neither the NOC nor the federation presidents were  consulted  before the  ministry took the decision to ban international office-holders from contesting the upcoming polls.

The NOC chief, who urged Dalung to remove the contentious portions of the guidelines,  warned that the outcome of the elections could  force the Olympic body to take a drastic action.

However, our correspondent learnt that the NOC, who is expected to monitor the polls and inform the various international bodies about their outcomes, could  boycott the exercise if the ministry insists on its guidelines.
 
 
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