- Police ban journalists, visitors from the Glass House
Crisis, a big shame, says Oneya
Duro Ikhazuagbe and Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Chris Giwa avoided the premises of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) monday as key staff of the football federation loyal to Amaju Pinnick ensured free flow of routine office activities.
A Jos High Court order granted by Justice Musa Kurya, had last Friday annulled the election held in Warri on September 30, 2014 won by Pinnick to emerge as NFF president.
The court also granted a relief sought by the plaintiff pending the determination of the main suit that Giwa should be recognised as the validly elected candidate by the congress at the Annual General Assembly (AGA) held at Chida Hotel, Abuja on August 26, 2014.
Pinnick however swiftly appealed the ruling and equally sought stay of execution, for status quo to remain, until the substantive suit is determined.
But in a move to show the desperation of the Giwa group to carry out the court order, it on Saturday announced the sacking of all NFF contract officials, while also a new management was purportedly put in place at the NFF.
None of the appointed officials functioned in the new capacity as status quo was maintained with Dr Mohammed Sanusi remained incharge as general secretary while both Bola Oyeyode and Ademola Olajire functioned in their capacity as acting director of competition and assistant director of communications respectively.
NFF personnel who were heavily protected by police and men of Department of State Security (DSS) turned up for duty, apparently to ensure no chances were taken ahead of today’s Africa Women’s Championship qualifying match between the Super Falcons and Senegal in Abuja.
The security men cordoned off the premises and did not allow journalists assess the NFF secretariat. The policemen said they were acting on orders from the above.
At the height of the football crisis in 2004, the NFF offices were razed by a fire which caused severe damage to the second floor while several trophies and other memorabilia were also burnt by the fire.
Meanwhile, a former NFF President, General Dominic Oneya (rtd) has flayed the current crisis rocking football administration in the country.
Speaking yesterday on the matter, Oneya who is a member of the CAF Organising Committee for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) described the current situation as “shameful” and “patently unbefitting of a strong football nation like Nigeria that has high global reckoning.”
He said: “I feel very sad, even uncomfortable, that this is happening in Nigeria at this time. Certainly, FIFA and CAF would not be happy with us, and may go for strong sanctions against our country.
“This is a period that every stakeholder should focus hard on the qualification series for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with our country having missed out on the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations competition. We also have the Olympics football tournament and some women tournaments coming up.
“This is not the time for distractions. I want to specially appeal to Chris Giwa to sheathe his sword and allow peace to reign. We will gain nothing other than a FIFA suspension from these activities. I regard him as a big stakeholder because he has been investing in the game. But in football, there are mechanisms for dispute resolution.
“FIFA, CAF and NFF have it in their different Statutes that you don’t take football matters to ordinary courts. It is there, clearly spelt out. If Giwa is dissatisfied with the verdicts he received earlier, he can still take the case back to FIFA, and onwards to CAS. That is the proper way to go,” the former governor of Kano and Benue states concluded.