By Ralph Ekpang
Nigeria cannot afford to go into another round of crisis again coming from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) after the one plunged by the 2014 Congress held at Chida International Hotel, Abuja where Ambassador Christopher Giwa (A very gentleman) won the election as the President and was denied his mandate courtesy of the NFF cabal.
The then NFF cabal led by its former President Aminu Maigari and flanked by some of his lieutenants; Chris Green (former board member), late Enugu FA chairman, Chidi Offor Okenwa, Plateau FA chairman Sunday Longpad, and Musa Amadu (Former NFF General Secretary) among others made it impossible for Giwa to take over the leadership of the federation and later installed Amaju Melvin Pinnick as the President in an illegal Congress held in Warri, Delta State against FIFA and NFF statutes. But here we are, Pinnick has rose to the position of FIFA executive Committee member and also the vice President of CAF.
Recently, there have been alot of write up flying everywhere trying to pitch their once loving NFF President, Pinnick against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare so that the later as usual would ignite crisis that will ouster the former as he is used to in the recent time.
Shortly after our own Amos Adamu was kicked out of CAF and FIFA on corruption charges, Nigeria experienced some unfavourable decisions by the administration of the former president of CAF Isa Hayatau. Therefore, if Pinnick has the political-know-how and going for third term will enable him achieve the highest seat in CAF by implications having the authority to make decisions that will favour Nigeria in CAF, then, he needs our support.
Yeah! Of a truth, We’ve not been doing well in terms of getting desire results from our national teams, including the leagues since he came on board as NFF President, but, that is not enough reason not to allow him go for third term if the NFF statute so permit. Attempt to do that means we are denying him the opportunity of consolidating in his position at the world football apex body, FIFA considering his relationship with FIFA President Giovanni Infantino which off course has the potential to supporting him to becoming CAF President in future even though it’s not going to be easy. But, considering his kind of politicking, why not.
Pinnick; whether you likes him or not has the political will to achieve his dream in life. Though, I never likes him for hating members of the FCT Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) which I belong. In addition, I was among the sports journalists in Nigeria that supported Amb. Giwa during the four years NFF elections crisis. My stand with Giwa actually made me enemies to alot of persons in the Glass House especially NFF director of media, Ademola Olajire who till date delisted me from NFF mail list simply because I was supporting the truth which Giwa represented then.
However, it is interesting to note that some journalists through their articles are thinking that if NFF did not hold election in September there will be crisis and Minister of sports Sunday Dare should not be held responsible rather Pinnick should be held for failing to call for a congress to set the September date for the election. Though I am not surprise because I remember vividly that some sports journalists were supposed to be at the last AFCON held in Cameroon but they were unable to travel before the Super Eagles crashed out of the competition and the ministry was able to pay N470, 000 each meant for their flight tickets to about seven of them without exta-code which was also budgeted for them. The question now, what happened to their supposedly exta-code? A story for another day.
In some of the articles the writers claimed, “The NFF Election is scheduled to hold in September and it was looking like it will not happen because of a Court Order in Bayelsa. That Order has restrained the Football Congress from holding it’s meeting to put Machinery in Place for the Election .
“But after some Concerned Congress-Men met with those that took the matter to Court , they agreed to discontinue the case in order for the Congress to hold it’s Meeting .
Now, the Question is what is stopping the NFF board from calling the Congress?
“The Answer to this Question has given Credence to alot of rumour going on behind the scene and the Body Language of the NFF President Amaju Pinnick has not helped matters.
“Pinnick looks very reluctant to call the Congress even after those that went to court have discontinued the case .
“Pinnick’s recent Press Statement further buttressed all the rumors flying around because he kept mute on the Third Term Ambition and he also gave what many Legal Experts have called laughable and lame Excuse on why the Congress has still not been called . Pinnick said the Bayelsa Court is yet to communicate their Lawyers that the two Cases in Court has been discontinued and once this is done the Congress will be called.”
Now, what is wrong with Pinnick going for third term. What is wrong with the writers going to NFF to investigate whether the court has actually serve them with the notice as claimed by them and what is wrong with the NFF to shift the election forward a bit to enable them come up with the election that will not fall short of the standard of FIFA and CAF statutes to avoid a ‘ban’ which we were used to during the Giwa vs Pinnick’s four years battle?
Some writers however wrote, “Because the Truth be told and it should be on Record that if Nigeria Football is plunged into a new round of Crises , we should know who to hold responsible and not the Sports Minister or other Stakeholders.
“We hear , he has even written to CAF and FIFA telling them why there wouldn’t be Election in September, against President Muhammadu Buhari’s Directives. “We also learnt he has started telling FIFA all sorts concerning the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare , to pave way for upcoming Letters that Nigerian Government is interfering in the affairs of the NFF.”
My question here is that, when did Nigeria Presidents start issuing NFF directives to hold their elections, what happens to FIFA, CAF and NFF statutes. Why is Sunday Dare and his co-travellers so interested in NFF elections.?Do he think NFF is that easy to bend the way he did to other federations? I am sure Dare knows that the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF)’s bone is still hanging on his neck why can’t he look the other side, must he fight everybody? For the sake of consolidation in CAF and FIFA and for peace in our fragile federation let Amaju Pinnick be.