Victor Rumson Baribote
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Victor Rumson Baribote, the Chairman of the Nigeria Premier League, (NPL) is clutching at bare threads, after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) failed to ratify his impeachment and the dissolution of the board of the NPL by 17 of the 20 club owners in the professional league.
A statement by the NFF Secretary General, Musa Amadu, Wednesday night, suspended the convocation of the NPL Congress billed to hold in Kano on Thursday, to forestall break down of law and order.
The Nigerian federation also said that the Executive Committee would hold an emergency meeting on Friday to conclusively resolve several issues around the NPL.
All the club owners, bar Niger Tornadoes, Akwa United and Jigawa Stars, had on Tuesday night signed a petition where they passed a vote of no confidence on the board of NPL, which they accused of lacking focus and for gross misapplication of funds.
They subsequently prayed to the NFF to recognize a six- man board to oversee the league, pending the initiation of processes leading to a fresh election.
The interim board is to be chaired by Mike Idoko of Sunshine Stars of Akure. Other members are Alloy Chukwuemeka, Sabo Babayaro, Tony Ogola, Suleiman Chindo and Oscar Keke.
The club owners said that lack of transparency on the part of the NPL was responsible for the inability of the league to attract sponsorship for the past two years.
The owners, who dully notified the National Sports Commission (NSC) and NFF of their decision, requested NFF to readmit Ocean Boys to the National League as the latter were victims of a shoddily managed league.
Spokesman of the club owners, Fan Ndubuoke, told reporters Wednesday morning that they were adequately covered by Article 22 of the NPL Constitution, to dissolve the board considering the rot at the NPL.
Ndubuoke said that the owners were justified as they were the ones that elected the embattled board.
But NFF secretariat dithered to the agitations because it felt that the club owners did not comply with the tenets of Article 15 of NPL Constitution on guidelines on removal of elected members of the NPL Board.
One of the provisions of the article said that a five-man committee shall be set up to look into the petition against a member of the board and the committee shall within two weeks submit its findings and recommendations to the board for deliberation.
The recommendation of the committee shall then be presented at the congress for consideration and ratification.
Ndubuoke, who insisted the chairmen had the last say, said that it would amount to gross illegality to go to the congress in Kano because they were not “served a three month notice to organize the congress as stipulated by the constitution”.
NFF had earlier on Tuesday given NPL approval to hold its Congress proposed for Thursday. But it reversed its position as it feared there could be anarchy if the congress went ahead after it got a letter signed by a number of club owners on the dissolution of the NPL board.
“In the meantime, we implore all persons involved to exhibit high-level maturity and maintain calmness for the good of the Nigeria game. For us, there has to be sanity in the administration of the league and that has to happen sooner rather than later.
“The NFF is uncomfortable with the continued delay in the commencement of the 2012/2013 Premier League season, which can only roll off the ground after the Congress. But we fear there could be a breakdown of law and order should the Congress go ahead on Thursday, 6th December 2012,” Amadu said.