By John Kayode
The current crisis hitting Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is a strong pointer to the fact that all is not well with the apex football ruling body, President of Ologbese Global Sports Management, Otunba Dele Ologbese has said.
Ologbese said the current situation in the Federation is a sign that the centre can no longer hold, saying the leadership has been completely incapacitated in utilizing its internal settlements mechanisms in redressing impasse within its fold amicably.
According to the Former Vice Chairman of Ondo State Football Association (FA) , “We were always told that football matters shouldn’t and can never be taken to court and what’s in vogue is incessant court cases standing as stumbling blocks to Federation’s pathways to success.
“What are the grouse of stakeholders who seek legal options in achieving their goals at all times and why are they out to destabilize NFF activities at every given opportunities?.
“Who are hoodlums under aegis of Nigeria Football Stakeholders threatening to unleash mayhems on NFF officials, electoral officers and observers at NFF Electoral Congress in Benin City on Saturday, September 30, 2022 for one reason or the other or are these miscreants capitalizing on the country’s weak security architectures in wrecking havoc?.
Why is Federation’s leadership adamant in amending the statutes or rules towards enlarging Congress’s memberships as canvassed by the Federal Government towards including other relevant stakeholders for sake of equity, fair play and justice?.
What legacy is outgoing NFF President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick leaving behind in his eight years crisis ridden tenure since he had folded his arms doing nothing practically in addressing floodgates of litigations tormenting NFF all this while towards achieving smooth transition?.”
Nothing should stop the forthcoming Electoral Congress slated for September 30, 2022 in Benin City.
He advised that aggrieved individuals in the crisis should toe path of honour and dignity by sheathing their swords with a view to allowing elections hold on scheduled date towards paving way for new sets of executives with new and vibrant ideas to pilot affairs of the Federation for another four years.
As much as tenure of current Federation’s Executives cannot be unnecessarily extended except by Congress, efforts should be intensified in resolving subsisting matter out of court in the next few days as anything less than this could lead to ban of Nigeria from football activities by FIFA.
A stint in time save nine an adage goes.
Recalled that earlier, a Federal High Court in Abuja, restrained the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, and President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick from conducting the NFF executive election scheduled for Sept. 30 in Edo.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the claimants, Celsus Ukpong, ordered the Minister, Mr Pinnik or any person, acting on their instruction, to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
“Counsel for the claimants informed the court that the defendants are taking action that will adversely affect the subject matter of this case.
“Parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending final order of this court,” he ruled.
Justice Ekwo then reverted the matter to Oct. 31 for hearing.
The motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1376/2021, Harrison Jalla, Chief Victor Rumson Baribote, Austin Popo and National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) are 1st to 4th claimants respectively.
In the application dated and filed on Sept. 2, NFF, Pinnick and the minister are 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
In the motion, the claimants’ sought an interim order restraining the defendants, his agent, employees, staff, officials or electoral committee from organising or conducting any election into any executive office of the NFF pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
In the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Fayenengigha Jacob, a lawyer in the chamber of Ukpong, he said the defendants had been served with processes in the case and that NFF and Pinnick had entered appearance in the matter, while the minister, though served with court papers, he had not entered appearance.
Jacob averred that one of the complaints in the matter was the undemocratic manner in which the NFF was being constituted resulting in depriving the majority of the stakeholders and members of the NFF from having a say or contributing to the development of football in Nigeria.
According to him, the glory of Nigeria football has nosedived as a result of its undemocratic manner of the leadership of the said body.
He said the complainants were deliberately excluded from the last congress held in Lagos for no just reason.
“That the claimant had legitimately call on the leadership of the said body to set machinery in motion to amend the 2010 NFF statute that was manipulated to deprive the majority of the NFF members such as the Professional Football Association, the league, the coaches body and the players from participating in any election let alone of winning same.
“That the said leadership of the NFF, the 2nd defendant (Pinnick), his agents, privies refused or neglected to allow the due process to take place in amending the said 2010 NFF statute,” he said
Jacob said while this matter is still pending in court the defendants are going ahead to announce and purportedly try to organise and conduct an election of the said body in September, 2022.
He said the defendants had been served with the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction to restrain them from conducting any election into the executive offices of NFF until after the hearing and determination of the substance matter,
According to him, while the motion on notice for interlocutory order restraining the defendants from disturbing the res in the matter, the defendants have drawn out a time table and set up an electoral committee to conduct an election to the offices in question on Friday 30th September, 2022 in Benin City Edo State.
He said the substance of the matter would be defeated should the said election slated for September goes ahead and without hearing of the pending motions and substantive matter.