NOC Congress: Gumel and The Imperatives of Consolidating ANOCA 

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By Peter Ejiofor 

Lagos, Dec. 13, 2022 – As the Congress of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) holds in Taraba State on December 15th, 2022, delegates must look for ways of consolidating the gains the committee had made in sports development, especially at the continental level.

What readily comes to mind is that development if it is to be sustained must be predicated on continuity, and one of such is consolidating on the continental Olympic Movement like the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA).

It then becomes clear that a weakened NOC will not be able to consolidate on the gains of having attracted ANOCA, which is the African Olympic Movement, relocated to Abuja, Nigeria – which year?.

ANOCA is the continental sports body that the NOC under Engineer Habu Gumel attracted to Nigeria as the only African sports body currently operating in the country.

It will be recalled that Football and Handball were two other major sports bodies that started in Lagos, Nigeria, but ended up in Egypt and Cote d’ Ivoire respectively because of poor management. 

At a time that neighbouring Cameroon failed to live up to the billing, Gumel rose to the occasion, pleading with the Federal Government to, not only offer a bailout many times through two of Nigeria’s seasoned administrators. 

Then, Chief Abraham Ordia and Dr. Awoture Eleyae managed the Supreme Council for Sports (SCSA) in Africa which was survived by ANOCA.

In a bid not to lose ANOCA, just as SCSA was lost, Nigeria offered to move the African Olympic body to Nigeria.

The African Olympic Movement first operated from a rented apartment before moving into its permanent site in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The ANOCA building officially opened in 2019 in Abuja, where the body only lasted a year and marked its 40 years of existence after a chequered history. 

ANOCA was founded in Togo before the body ran into bad times and had to be relocated to Cameroon and eventually saved by Nigeria through the instrumentality of Engineer Habu Gumel.

For this achievement and many others as the NOC President, Nigeria should make it a priority to use Gumel to consolidate on retaining ANOCA, especially now that some African countries, Egypt, Kenya and Cameroon want to revive their fight to get the Secretariat.

It will be hasty to get rid of the country’s strong voice at this point and hope that you could make progress swiftly.

Gumel attended the Technical College in Kano from 1961 to 1966. He studied Civil Engineering at the Engineering Institute in Kyiv (former Soviet Union) from 1970 to 1976, where he received his Master of Science in Civil and Structural Engineering. 

Gumel started his career in 1976/1977 (that is about 46 years ago) at the National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC) at the Yankari Games Reserve in Nigeria.  

Between 1977 and 1983, he was General Manager, Bauchi State Cooperatives Building Association Limited from where he became Deputy Chief of Engineering from 1983 to 1984 and then, Director of Engineering from 1984 to 1985 of the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme. 

He was Deputy General Manager of the Federal Housing Authority in Lagos, from 1985 to 1992, and then Executive Director of Operations for the Federal Housing Authority in Abuja from 1993 to 1999.

And to cap it all, he served as President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) from 2000 to 2001, as well as President of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) from 2004 to 2010.

He was in 2009, the Executive Secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund and in 2014, he became a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering.

Gumel’s foray into sports administration began when he became the Chairman and Member of the Nigerian Volleyball Federation.

In 1997, he was Executive Vice-President of the African Volleyball Confederation where he was the treasurer from 1997 to 2001 and then President from 2001 to 2010 then later in 2014.

From 1997 to 2001, he was part of the Nigeria Olympic Committee. In 1998, Gumel was a member and Secretary of the Finance Commission of International Volleyball Federation (FIVB).

In 2008, he was Executive Vice-President and in 2009 he was the FIVB Technical Delegate for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In 2010, he was a member of the Steering Committee of the FIVB Development Fund.

From 2000 to 2009, he was the Director of Sports Facilities for the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC) in Abuja and  from 2002 to 2009, he was a Presidential Committee Member of the All-African Games. 

From 2005 to 2007, Gumel was a Member and Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Abuja Bid Committee for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He was President of Zone 3 of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) from 2005 to 2009 where, in 2005, he was an Executive Board Member, and in 2009 he was Treasurer-General.

At the International Olympic Committee (IOC), he was a member of the Sports and Environment Committee from 2010 to 2015, and the TV Rights and New Media Committee from 2014 to 2015.

From 2015 to 2020, he was part of the Coordination for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo 2020. 

In 2016 and 2017, he was part of the Evaluation of the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in 2024.

In 2015, Gumel was a Delegate Member for Broadcast Rights, Africa, except for MENA. MENA, an acronym in the English language, refers to a grouping of countries situated in and around the Middle East and North Africa.

Gumel, as NOC President, has benefitted Nigeria in no small measure and has equally brought landmark achievements to Nigeria. 

By far, his most important achievement was attracting the Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa (ANOCA) to Abuja.

It was formerly domiciled in the Cameroons when the Olympic Movement wanted a country to inject a new lease of life into the Movement.

Under Gumel, the NOC has secured the partnership of both the International Olympic Committee and ANOCA for the building of the NOC Secretariat in Abuja.

Gumel, as NOC President, is reputed to be in charge of the process that led to the delivery of the ANOCA Secretariat building in Abuja by engaging with the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

He delivered the milestone of the visit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President to Nigeria to inaugurate the ANOCA Secretariat. 

During the visit, the IOC President promised to donate a spectator arena to NOC Partner School – Aduvie International School, a project that has been completed, inaugurated and delivered to the school.

He also ensured the provision of Olympic Scholarships worth $414,240 to 19 Nigerian athletes which led to the qualification of all of them for the Tokyo Olympic Games, while two of the athletes won the Silver and Bronze medals for Nigeria. 

In addition, a Team Support Grant of $75,000 to Basketball and Hockey contributed to the qualification of both male and female Basketball teams for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The beneficiaries included the current World beater Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume whose scholarships are beginning to yield remarkable dividends. 

There were also local and international training programmes for Nigerian Coaches, Sports Medicine professionals, military and para-military officials, and sports journalists as well as providing Olympic education curriculum for various Nigerian universities, secondary and primary schools.

For his achievements and the honour he has brought to the country, too numerous to mention, Gumel in 2001, was awarded the National Honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and in 2022, he was also conferred with the award of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Government.

The Japanese ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, who presented the award to Gumel on behalf of Emperor Naruhito, said the award was in recognition of Gumel’s contributions to promoting friendship between Japan and Nigeria through sports. (GBN)

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