With a Federal High Court order looming in the background, the much anticipated NFF elections could be weakened at its knees three days to go.
It would be recalled that an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, issued an order restraining the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare and president of the Nigeria Football Federation ((NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick, from conducting the NFF Executive elections scheduled for September 30, 2022 in Benin City, Edo State.
In this interview with Newspathfinder, the Country Director, FC Bayern Youth Cup Nigeria, Mr Victor Edeh, called for an altruistic approach to whatever demands of the key players and other stakeholders.
The founder VOE Foundation wants all stakeholders to place football first before personal agenda.
Interview by Chigozie Chukwuleta.
1. What do you think of the court order and it’s consequences on football in Nigeria?
As a law abiding citizen, I believe that the laws of the land reign supreme and once complaints and suits are brought forward to the court, a resolution is necessary before matters can proceed.
Court injunctions have become a recurring theme in the periods leading up to NFF elections and it negatively impacts on our football.
Football has provisions for resolving matters without involving the courts. The sooner dispute resolution and arbitration channels that are seen to be reputable, independent and transparent are put in place by the NFF to handle grievances that arise in certain quarters in the course of administering our football, the easier it is to avoid these court disruptions.
2. What is your word to the agrieved persons looking at the impact of their actions on football administration and development?
The game of football comes first before any personal or group agenda and that has to be put into consideration by the aggrieved. Every action should be for the betterment of the game in our country and the least disruptive means should always be employed.
3. Between now and 30th October when the case is adjourned, what do you think should be done by football stakeholders?
The injunction only prevents the NFF from running the elections and the election is only an item on the agenda of the Annual general assembly. I believe the AGA should go ahead as planned and that the grievances that has led to the pending court matter should be addressed at the assembly. Hopefully that leads to withdrawal of the suit and subsequently a new president and executive board.
4. What do think can be done to forestall future occurence?
People just want to be heard and whoever assumes leadership must make it a priority to setup channels that allows all football stakeholders to have an input in how our football is run.
5. What do you think is the place of Players Association in the life of a football federation and football administration?
The game is about the players and they have a unique insight about the game. Like every other stakeholder group like the referees union, supporters club, club owners et al, the Players Association have a key role in providing insight to administrators to enable them deliver a game that puts footballers at its heart.
6. After a heroic outing at the World Championships and Common Wealth Games, Nigerian athletes were rewarded by the President. Beyond reward system after success, in what other ways do you think athletes successes can be honed and sustained?
Infrastructure development, Coach education and increasing participation levels in sports all combine to produce a pool of elite athletes capable of performing consistently at the highest level. These key elements are the bedrock of a sustained success in sports.
7. What do you think of the Adopt-an-athlete initiative of the sports minister, Mr Sunday Dare?
I am a big advocate of the minister’s initiative. If everyone who can support an athlete adopts one athlete, the pool of athletes available to be called upon swells up and they in turn go on to support other athletes when they become successful creating an endless loop of supported athletes. This reduces the chances of potential champions falling through the cracks due to lack of support.