Feb 24, 2009, 7:18 AM
Delegates at the ordinary session of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) on Saturday elected veteran and prominent sports figure Alhaji Momodou Dibba as the next president of the GNOC.
After several months of tempestuous campaign for the troubled GNOC presidential election marred by infighting between strong supporters of the two aspiring candidates, Momodou Dibba is confirmed the new president of the GNOC presidential hot seat after winning the majority of the votes.
Dibba, who enjoyed the support of a good number of voting members, won 26 out of 46 registered votes for the GNOC election leaving the balance of 20 votes vacated by the withdrawal of Dibba's presidential contestant Alhaji Abdoulie Baks Touray, who left the election house together with his followers shortly before the ballot.
The controversial withdrawal of Mr Touray, who was said to have been enjoying the backing of the majority of the voting members prior to the crucial weekend’s election, has put the whole procedure under a threat but the Independent Electorate Commission took the bull by the horn to avoid a similar situation that disrupted the 2010 October 20th election over constitutional irregularities.
Baks and his supporters under the directive of Johnny Gomez, president of the Gambia Cricket Association, boycotted the election following an argument with an IEC official on the overall voter call list.
The main argument was entirely centred on the voter list and, according to Johnny Gomez, the voter list endorsed by the National Assembly Select Committee on Youth and Sports was an interim voter list and therefore it is not qualified to be presented at the election.
Gomez's argument on the issue was however rubbished by Sambujang Njie, an official from the IEC, who made it categorically clear that they would go by the voter list endorsed by the National Assembly Select Committee on Youth and Sports.
Johnny Gomez, at that point controversially ordered his men to boycott the election for what he called the IEC inability to conduct a free and fair election.
The basis of their argument regarding the voter list might be critical in the aftermath of the election but Dibba at the moment is the declared winner of the election.
After declaring the winner and president of the GNOC presidential office, Dibba wasted no time in outlining his aims and objectives for the GNOC for at least another tenure in office.
"I am calling on all the Gambian sports fraternity to forget about the past and to work in the interest of sports development in The Gambia," Dibba told a crowd of journalists shortly after he was confirmed the winner of the GNOC presidential election.
"The result of the election is a clear demonstration that those who were absent or boycotted the election - I, Alhaji Momodou Dibba, am the winner of the GNOC election - what is important now is for them to accept the result as it happened and for us all to work closely with all the sports fraternity in the Gambia to move sport forward," said Dibba.
Dibba urged all and sundry to put their differences behind them and come forward to work in the interest of sport in the country as "we are one family".
"We should demonstrate the Olympic spirit, follow the Olympic path and nurture the Olympic culture since we have a lot ahead of us," he said.
Dibba, who has set his sights firmly on improving the standard of sports during his tenure in office, added: "The 2012 Olympic Games is not very far; we need to reorganise ourselves and make sure we have proper training and directive and move ahead."
He used the opportunity to thank the IEC for what he referred to as their professionalism in conducting a free, fair and transparent election while commending journalists for what he described as their outstanding reporting during the intensive campaign, and promised them that they will be included in the GNOC international outings so that they would be able to report on firsthand information on any matter regarding the GNOC internationally.
The GNOC top post was vacated by its convicted former president Lang Tombong Tamba for non-sports related activity in July of last year.