Nigeria’s Brigadier General Maikano Abdullahi, the Deputy Director of Sports at the Defence Headquarters, is among four contestants vying for the position of the next President of the Organization of Military Sports in Africa (OSMA), with other contestants coming from Algeria, Kenya and Guinea Conakry.
The President of OSMA is expected to be elected by 51 African member countries at a General Assembly holding on 7th October via virtual and zooming conference due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The winner of contest automatically becomes the Vice President of the International Military Sports Council (CISM).
Brigadier General Abdullahi was the pioneer Secretary General of OSMA as a then a Lieutenant Colonel, when the organization was founded in 1994 by Nigeria’s Major General Ishola Williams (Rtd), and a Cameroonian. It became fully operational in 2008 with the Headquarters in Yaoundé Cameroun.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja about his aspiration, Abdullahi said, Nigeria being one of the strong Pillar of CISM and the Founding Father of OSMA deserves to produce the President of the organization at this point in time.
Disclosing that he was contesting for the presidency of OSMA based on the recommendations and backing of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Abdullahi promised to use the position if he wins to boost the image of Nigeria and facilitate military sports development in the country and with other member countries.
On his qualifications, the former Basketball player for the Nigerian Army team said, “My vast experience in Sports, Fitness and Training coupled with my participation in both National and International Military and Civil Sporting activities enhanced my nomination for this post.
“I am a fellow and member of National Association of Physical and Health Education Recreation Sports and Dance (NAPHER-SD). I have won several National and International Awards in Cameroun, CISM Headquarters Belgium, Burkina Faso, Niger and Republic of Guinea to mention but few.
“As a Senior Officer in Defence Headquarters Abuja and Deputy Director Sports, if given the mandate, I will project the good image of Nigeria better in both CISM and OSMA; promote Military Sports in Nigeria and Africa. I will also ensure that our Continent is adequately represented in all CISM sporting events and World General Assemblies and it will also give me the opportunity to promote sports and encourage good sporting relationship among the 51 African Countries.
On the rivalry between Anglophone and Francophone African countries which may come to play in the election, Abdullahi said, the CDS has directed the Defence Intelligence Agency to communicate all Nigeria’s Defence Advisers to reach out to participating countries on the benefits that will accrue to OSMA if he is elected.
Aside this, he noted that having served in Yaoundé, Cameroon as Secretary General and Burkina Faso as Technical Officer of WALO, coupled with the fact he can communicate in English, French, Arabic and Hausa, he was sure of victory.
The only contestant he envisages will give him a tough time is the contestant from Kenya who is also English speaking and may cause a split in the votes from Anglophone African countries.
Giving a brief on the support given to sports and achievements by the Chief of Defence Staff since 2015, Brig-General Abdullahi said, “The CDS has ensured regular payment of Membership Annual dues of CISM, OSMA and Walo from 2015 every year to date 2020; renovation of all our sporting facilities in Mogadishu Cantonment.
“The CDS ensured Creation of Barracks Male and Female Youth Sports Championship that includes Basketball, Badminton, Handball, Football, Chess and Rugby annually, as parts of his love for the barracks teaming youth just to engage them in a meaningful sporting activities with a view to hunting talent and keeping them meaningfully busy.
The CDS ensured Participation of Nigerian Armed Forces Teams in international sporting activities such as, World Military Games in Wuhan China in 2019, before COVID, World Military Skills Competition in South Africa 2018 and 2019, African Basketball Championship in Congo Brazzaville in 2017, and West African Boxing Competition in Guinea Conakry 2018.
He has also ensured the yearly Sponsorship of Armed Forces and Security Agencies Half Marathon Championship from 2017 – date among other.
Brig- Gen Abdullahi vowed not to let to let Armed Forces of Nigeria down and the nation at large saying, “I once again use this medium to thank the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai for nominating me to vie for the Post of OSMA President and CISM Vice President for Africa.”
The International Military Sports Council also known as Consiel International Du SPORT Militarie (CISM) is a Global military sporting organization second to International Olympic Committee (IOC).
CISM is concerned with organizing and coordinating Military Sports in the World. Nigeria has been a member of CISM which has 136 member Countries since 1972.
There are 51 African Countries currently as members of OSMA, it is second to COJA in terms of Organizing of Sporting activities in Africa.
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