By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
A Federal High Court sitting in Jos, Plateau State yesterday sacked the executive committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by Amaju Pinnick.
Justice Musa Haruna Kurya, in his ruling granted the prayers of Mr.Yahaya Adama and Senator Obinna Ogba to relist the case which among others had sought to nullify the September 30, 2014 General Assembly and subsequent Elective Congress in Warri that brought Pinnick to office as the president of the NFF.
However, in a swift move, counsel to Pinnick, Mr. Damon Dashe, appealed the decisions of the court immediately.
According to a statement from the NFF, since an appeal, a motion to vacate the order and a stay-of-execution had been filed, on the same day as the judgment, the status quo remains. Hearing in the substantive suit has been fixed for May 30, 2016.
Justice Kurya had sustained all the previous orders of the court, thereby effectively making Mr Chris Giwa the head of the NFF until the final determination of the suit.
By the orders of the court, the Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, is compelled to recognise the Giwa-led board of the NFF as the authentic body by law.
The order also barred anybody from interfering with the duties and functions of the NFF board under the leadership of Giwa.
Counsel to Adama and Ogba, Mr. Habila Azard said his clients had been vindicated, and that “they can now settle down and resume all their functions because that is all we have been fighting for.”
But 1ST Vice-president of the NFF, Seyi Akinwunmi, described the development as a very sad one.
“This is a sad one primarily because we have enjoyed a period of peace and have been able to work without the court-today-court-
“I can assure football-loving Nigerians that there is no reason to panic as we are in full charge and there is no trouble whatsoever.
“There is no order for the Giwa group to take over the Glass House. In fact many of his so-called board members have called to dissociate themselves from the matter,” Akinwunmi noted.
Two years ago, Giwa claimed he had been elected president of the NFF, but world football governing body FIFA did not endorse the vote.
In September 2014, then Delta FA Chairman Pinnick was elected NFF boss to replace Aminu Maigari.
Giwa and his group then went to the Jos High Court to file to be recognised as the duly elected NFF boss. With the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians and also to stave a FIFA ban, Giwa withdrew the case in October 2014. He later went to sport’s highest ruling body, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which threw out their case for lacking substance.
THISDAY learnt yesterday that the development in the Nigerian federation was already causing discomfort for the new leadership of FIFA.
It is now expected that FIFA will step into this latest row particularly as they frown at football matters being addressed in a civil court.