One of the most exciting elections in Gambian football history, laden with venomous tirades, startling revelations and recriminations igniting heightened tension came to pass Saturday with a resounding victory by incumbent Lamin Kaba Bajo. He defeated his rival and former colleague Sadibou Kamaso 51 votes to 25. Bajo immediately announced ground-breaking infrastructural developments in the rural areas and extended an olive branch to his opponent’s camp to reconcile the football family and march on with the gains recorded in recent past. He said everyone has seen that there has been unprecedented development in Gambian football by all standards.
Earlier Mr Bajo’s executive secured a two- third majority at an extra ordinary AGM to amend the constitution to creating a fourth vice president which automatically goes to the president of the women’s football association.
That AGM started with chaos at the venue when presidential candidate Sadibou Kamaso was denied entry because the electoral committee has rejected his delegation by Young Africans, a decision he rejected as illegal.The chaos over the legality of his delegation by Young Africans to the AGM was confused by many to have meant that he was not allowed to enter the venue for the election that was scheduled to go ahead after the AGM. This attracted wide spread criticisms and painted an unpleasant image of the beginning of the day’s proceedings.
With the AGM over Mr Kamaso took his place in the hall as a presidential candidate.
The electoral committee chairman Saikou Jarjue then laid at the procedure after which voting started with the position of president. As counting began, with votes being loudly called by assistant chairman Aboulie Jallow, both camps got busy pencilling the vote numbers for each candidate as the announcement continued. Soon it became clear that Mr Bajo’s numbers have out grown his opponent’s prompting his supporters to engage in a premature celebration that matured into rapturous applause as the final count was officially read.
The overwhelming nature of the victory certainly meant the remaining contenders for the other positions from the Kamaso had no chance and one after the other, they all declined their candidature except for the position of women’s representative which was won by Arête Njie- Jah of the Kaba camp.
So, after months of dominance in public platforms and a vigorous campaign that sometimes unsettled his opponents, Mr Kamaso’s challenge to take the mantle of Gambian football crumbled in just a matter of an hour in that Paradise Suites Hotel hall on Saturday.
In response, he denounced the process of the election as unfair and vowed to challenge it. He however said he respected the decision of the stakeholders.
“We have come a long way from the date we made a declaration to contest for the GFF leadership to date. This journey has not only been very fulfilling and successful but also gave us the opportunity to change the dynamics of Gambian football for good. The stakeholders have spoken and their voices should be respected irrespective of the circumstances in which they were made to speak.
We have all witnessed the numerous inducement and coercion tactics employed by the GFF Executive but again the stakeholders had a choice to choose who to vote for without being allowed to be coerced or forced to. Blocking me from entering the Extraordinary congress by the Chairman of the electoral committee who has no jurisdiction over that is one of the many tactics employed to butcher our constitution.
I am extremely proud of each and every one of you and I take this opportunity to say thank you. You have all been absolutely amazing from the beginning of this campaign and language will fail me to express my gratitude to you all.
I ask that we all keep our heads high because we made history,” Mr Kamaso ssaid.
New executive Committee
Lamin Kaba Bajo – President
Mr. Bakary K. Jammeh – Ist VP
Mr. Ebou Faye – 2nd Vp
Mr. Numukunda Kanyi – 3rd VP
Ms. Sainabou Cham – 4th VP
Mr. John Frank Mendy – Member
Ismaila S. Ceesay – Member
Mrs. Arret Njie Jah – Women Rep
Ms. Maimuna Kanteh – Member