Ahead of Thursday’s Nigeria Olympic Committee’s election scheduled to hold in Jalingo, Taraba, the incumbent President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Ahmed Gumel, has exonerated himself from Nigeria’s lack of voting rights at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Gumel debunked insinuations that he had been the one blocking the country from having a voting right at the IOC.
“Let me make proper clarification that Nigeria has no voting rights in IOC.
“This is because IOC selects its members from different countries and those selected are members of the IOC in their own countries.
“I was elected in 2009 and automatically I became an IOC member in Nigeria.
“Out of 54 countries in Africa, there are only 15 IOC members.
“IOC is not a United Nations or the Africa Union, that every country has a seat.
“Even when you go for IOC sessions, it is your name that is there not the name of your country.
“It is not true that I am denying Nigeria from getting voting rights.
“Nigeria has no voting right in IOC.
“The good thing is for me as a representative of IOC in Nigeria to make sure that I contribute to making Nigeria get a lot of things from IOC,” he said.
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Gumel explained further that it does not mean that when you are president of NOC (in your own country) automatically you are an IOC member.
According to him, there are many National Olympic Committee (NOC) Presidents in Africa that are not IOC members.
He denied some reports that Nigeria does not have voting right because he (Gumel) is above 70 years old.
Gumel enumerated factors the IOC considers before giving a country voting right.
“There are indices that the IOC considers, which include participation in the Olympic Games.
“Other indices are the achievements and the characters of a person.
“The person they may choose may not necessarily be the president of a NOC.
“So, they select people from different countries and sometimes it is based on recommendations.
“I am an honorary member of the IOC for life right now, by the virtue of my age.
“It is not about me alone, anywhere in the world, once you clock that 70 years, you automatically join.”
As the Committee is set to hold its election, the electoral sub-committee has cleared Gumel cleared by to contest for re-election for four years in office.
Meanwhile, Tony Nezianya, former Director at the News Agency of Nigeria and a former NOC Spokesman, is seeking re-election.
Also, Daniel B. Igali of the Wrestling Federation, Bamidele O. Ayoade of the Shooting Federation and Olumide Oyedeji of the Athletes Representative and Mrs Maria Wophill of the Athletics Federation have picked the nomination forms to vie for the third Vice President position.
For the fourth Vice President, Mrs Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi of Table Tennis, Air Commodore Rahinatu Garba of Shooting and Mrs Olabisi Joseph of the School Sports Federation are contesting among other positions.
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