May 9, 2017, 10:34 AM
The majority of members of the national associations of the Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC, on Saturday gathered at Olympic House and approved a proposal to comprehensively include all existing national sports associations in The Gambia, numbering 29, as GNOC members, as a way forward in resolving a bitter and embarrassing row over its voters list.
The deal for the proposal was jointly brokered by the Minister of Youth and Sports Alieu Jammeh and his counterparts at Interior Ousman Sonko and Aki Bayo of Local Government, during a meeting with the bickering parties in the GNOC family.
Addressing the meeting of the GNOC assembly and bureau members, Minister Sonko, himself an enthusiastic follower and lover of sports, said the proposal was devised to strike a compromise between the two parties so as to get them agreed on a common voters list.
‘The genesis of this problem is that the GNOC has names of associations as its members, which does not include some listed and recognized by the National Sports Council, NSC, whereas the NSC too has names in their list which are not recognized by the GNOC.
‘So in order to strike a balance, we called the parties to a meeting at my Ministry where it was proposed that a master register comprising all the national associations, including those left out by both sides be drawn up leaving no one out, which gives us a total of 29 associations,’’ Minister Sonko said.
He further stated that the parties to the talks had said that the proposal must be put before the general assembly for approval, which was why the members were called to Olympic House to do just that on Saturday
However, he made it clear that the agreement was that the proposal should be sent to the International Olympic Committee, IOC, for approval.
“If the IOC approves it, then we go by that and call the elections, and if they disapprove it then we would go back to the drawing board to see what can be done,’’ the minister said.
Sonko told the gathering that the failure to come to common grounds in the GNOC matter is not just about people, but it is the nation of the Gambia that is affected, and government cannot sit by to see the stability of national organisations being threatened.
‘Government shall not interfere, but it could intervene, and “that is what we are doing; we are intervening to find a solution to the problem. Afterall, we are all related here as one Gambian family. So we must work as one unit, since we all call ourselves sports associations of The Gambia. So the nation is bigger than any individual,’’ he said.
GNOC president Momodou Dibba thanked minister Sonko for his insightful speech, and informed the gathering that neither the constitution of the GNOC nor the Olympic Charter was being flouted or will be flouted.
“Let us allow the Minister of Sport to handle this matter with the IOC. Until that is done, we would get back to you. He advised that when talking to the media, care must be taken not to blow things out of proportion.
“We are trying to regularize the situation. This country is calm, and we need the stability as the Olympic movement is a family. I wish to thank everybody, and let us hope that we will resolve this problem,’’ Dibba said.