The GOC saga: Will B. T. Baba leave quietly?

B. T. Baba

All attention is focused on the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) B. T. Baba as the GOC readies itself for the upcoming General Assembly to elect a new President but recent developments leads one to question the genuineness of the whole election process.

Having spent over 13 years in the post- including overseeing the most turbulent years at the GOC infamously known as the GOC saga-the former director of the Ghana Prison’s Service is well abreast of the GOC constitution regarding the election of new officials.

It is therefore surprising that the GOC has for the first time, now formed a vetting committee headed by none other than the immediate past President of the Ghana Athletics Association Sandy Osei Agyeman apparently to vet nominees for the IOC mandated congress date of 31st October, 2011, something that the GOC’s own constitution does not make provision for.

Article 12.4 of the GOC constitution states that one of the functions of the Executive Board of the GOC is to appoint sub-committees as the “GOC”may deem, fit. In this context the GOC refers to congress of the Olympic committee which is made of member associations, representatives from the security services, former athletes and other honourary members.

Again article 20 also states that “the Executive Board may also at anytime appoint any other sub-committee upon such terms as the Board shall determine, and may appoint any person, whether he is a member of the Board or not, to serve on such sub-committees”

It is noteworthy to point out that Article 12.4 precedes Article 20 and thus, the interpretation is that after GOC (congress) approves the existence of a new sub-committee, the executive board has the power to appoint (create) the sub-committee, determine the scope of its mandate and staff it.

In addition, it is also stated that for issues in the GOC constitution not clearly stated, ambiguous or for which interpretation is not clear parties have to defer to IOC.  Interestingly the Olympic Charter makes no provision for a vetting committee, infact the closest it comes to is with regards the appointment of a nominations committee which is charged with examining each candidature for election to IOC membership.

On the day of congress, the only requirements per the constitution are that a person be nominated by one of the national associations, which are the rightful members of the GOC.

According to the GOC’s own constitution a 21 day notice is given to member associations of the Olympic body before congress, which is made up of representatives of various sports associations, is convened.

Members of congress have the right to nominate individuals for positions and also second such nominations after which new officers are elected on the day of congress in the presence of all the members of the GOC.

It is also imperative to point out that B.T. Baba enjoyed this kind of election process on three successive General Assemblies of the GOC in 1996, 2000 and 2005.

So why the need for a vetting committee and why now?

Ghana sports has suffered massively for the past two and a half years due to the GOC saga and so it is very natural to expect that the right things will be done by the GOC so as not to overburden the nations sportsmen and women with unnecessary headaches.

This is especially important looking at all the troubles they (sportsmen/women) went through before the International Olympic Committee only recently lifted the suspension it placed on the country following the amendment of the national sports law SMCD 54 to conform to the Olympic Charter.

It will be in Mr. Baba’s interest to explain why the need for the vetting and nomination committees, and what its scope is before the notice for “D-Day” is announced.

But guess what? Who stands to benefit the most if there are any further delays to the GOC General Assembly?

The obvious answer is B.T. Baba and his cohorts at the GOC including but not restricted to the Vice President Frank Appiah and Elizabeth Quarmyne because they will get the chance to extend their reign for the short term until the issues are sorted out.

It brings to mind the recent controversy regarding the Ghana Football Associations congress where two Presidential candidates were disqualified meaning the incumbent FA Boss Kwesi Nyantakyi stood unopposed and he duly won.

It is almost inconceivable that the GOC will take any action a la Neil Armstrong Mortagbe and Vincent Sowah Odotei. But one wonders whether that is the mission assigned to the vetting committee, which currently includes persons who are not even GOC members.

The waters seem to be closing down heavily on Mr. Baba with three weeks to the elections and the veteran administrator is short on the numbers needed to successfully win the elections.

In his haste to get more votes at congress, Mr. Baba is calling on some few old friends within the sporting fraternity but the bigger question is: do they have the power to vote at congress?

WHO VOTES AT CONGRESS?

That question has already been answered by the IOC.

The IOC’s letter announcing the lifting of the suspension on the country to the GOC on 26th August 2011 clearly spelt out those eligible to vote at the upcoming congress:”…make sure that the National Sports Federations and their representatives that will participate in your NOC General Assembly are those that are duly recognised by their respective International Federations.”

So for instance in the case of Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), two representatives from the current Association led by Prof Francis Dodoo are eligible to vote at the congress and not the immediate past boss of the GAA Sandy Osei Agyeman, whom B.T. Baba has been meeting with to formulate the processes.

It should be recalled that even when GOC was suspended, B.T. Baba, Frank Appiah and Sandy Osei-Agyemang attempted to undermine the authority of GAA by misrepresenting themselves to the continental body for Athletics. The result was a sharp rebuke from Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) and the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

In addition, most of the Olympic sports associations in the country such as Hockey,

Badminton, volleyball, Table Tennis, Tennis and the likes have successfully staged their own democratic congresses after the IOC’s earlier directive of 2009.

This issue was the main bone of contention at the controversial 30th June, 2009 congress: whiles Mr. Baba wanted the old executives to vote at the congress, the then newly appointed executives of the various sports associations took over and voted him out.

Mind you the delegate list at the upcoming congress will be totally different from the one Mr. Baba wanted to use in 2009, where upon  realizing his people were out Mr. Baba fled fearing his eventual defeat. Now, he is trying to insert those persons into the process by putting them on his vetting and nomination committees.

Again, most of the 11 member executive board of the GOC currently have deserted their posts and seemingly are not keen on playing any further role at the local Olympic governing body, apparently because of their displeasure with the way the GOC has conducted itself over the last two years.

The General Secretary of the GOC, Albert Tettey recently told me that he submitted his resignation letter to Mr. Baba last year, adding that he has since ceased to play any role at the GOC.

There are others who don’t seem to be interested in the workings of the GOC anymore.

The signs do not bode well for the much needed smooth transitional process and the “old fox “seems to be readying to unleash one deadly venom before he leaves the post.

It seems Mr. Baba is not likely to leave quietly but only time will tell what his real intentions are.

The shame is that it would seem that if he follows his actions through it could lead to Ghana being banned again, almost certainly meaning that our beloved nation might miss the 2012 Olympics in London after all. What a shame after all the hard work that has been done to lift this ban! B.T. Baba, remember that Ghana must come first!

By Erasmus Kwaw

WHO VOTES AT CONGRESS?
That question has already been answered by the IOC.
The IOC’s letter announcing the lifting of the suspension on the country to the GOC on 26th August 2011 clearly spelt out those eligible to vote at the upcoming congress:”…make sure that the National Sports Federations and their representatives that will participate in your NOC General Assembly are those that are duly recognised by their respective International Federations.”
So for instance in the case of Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), two representatives from the current Association led by Prof Francis Dodoo are eligible to vote at the congress and not the immediate past boss of the GAA Sandy Osei Agyeman, whom B.T. Baba has been meeting with to formulate the processes.
It should be recalled that even when GOC was suspended, B.T. Baba, Frank Appiah and Sandy Osei-Agyemang attempted to undermine the authority of GAA by misrepresenting themselves to the continental body for Athletics. The result was a sharp rebuke from Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) and the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).
In addition, most of the Olympic sports associations in the country such as Hockey, Badminton, volleyball, Table Tennis, Tennis and the likes have successfully staged their own democratic congresses after the IOC’s earlier directive of 2009.
This issue was the main bone of contention at the controversial 30th June, 2009 congress: whiles Mr. Baba wanted the old executives to vote at the congress, the then newly appointed executives of the various sports associations took over and voted him out.
Mind you the delegate list at the upcoming congress will be totally different from the one Mr. Baba wanted to use in 2009, where upon  realizing his people were out Mr. Baba fled fearing his eventual defeat. Now, he is trying to insert those persons into the process by putting them on his vetting and nomination committees.
Again, most of the 11 member executive board of the GOC currently have deserted their posts and seemingly are not keen on playing any further role at the local Olympic governing body, apparently because of their displeasure with the way the GOC has conducted itself over the last two years.
The General Secretary of the GOC, Albert Tettey recently told me that he submitted his resignation letter to Mr. Baba last year, adding that he has since ceased to play any role at the GOC.
There are others who don’t seem to be interested in the workings of the GOC anymore.
The signs do not bode well for the much needed smooth transitional process and the “old fox “seems to be readying to unleash one deadly venom before he leaves the post.
It seems Mr. Baba is not likely to leave quietly but only time will tell what his real intentions are.
The shame is that it would seem that if he follows his actions through it could lead to Ghana being banned again, almost certainly meaning that our beloved nation might miss the 2012 Olympics in London after all. What a shame after all the hard work that has been done to lift this ban! B.T. Baba, remember that Ghana must come first!

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