- Dalung ditches Giwa
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Extra Ordinary General Assembly (EOGA) of Nigeria football that sat in Abuja wednesday activated Article 37 (1) of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Statutes by mooting suspension for Ambassador Chris Giwa, and five others for bringing Nigeria football and the country to disrepute in clear contravention of NFF statutes and other extant football laws.
This decision was contained in a communiqué issued after the meeting and signed by E.C Chukwuemeka.
The other accused persons are Yahaya Adama, Muazu Suleyman, Sani Fema and Effiong Johnson. They are to appear before the congress to defend themselves.
Rumson Baribote, Shehu Adamu, Ben Agary and Olajide Fashikun were found guilty by the General Assembly of aiding and abetting the gross misconduct and are to appear and defend themselves before the NFF Committee on Ethics and Fair-play.
Giwa, the founder of Giwa Football Club of Jos, and others were accused of committing infractions such as illegally contracting a law firm based in South Africa in the name of the NFF and refusing to pay for the services up to a point where judgment was given against the NFF by the South Africa court.
The congress determined that their action negates NFF statutes, regulations, directives and decisions of FIFA, Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the West African Football Union (WAFU).
The sanctions on Giwa was the tipping point of the NFF power struggle, that climaxed with last week’s order granted by a Jos High Court, annulling the election of Giwa’s main rival, Amaju Pinnick as the validly elected president of NFF.
Giwa had on Tuesday insisted that he was the winner of the disputed election of August 29, 2014 and had sensationally sacked the 36 state FA chairmen and threatened to take over the NFF Glass House yesterday.
However, it turned out to be an empty threat as he did not turn up at the heavily fortified football secretariat.
But the biggest surprise at yesterday’s event was the most unexpected recognition accorded the General Assembly, and by extension Pinnick, by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung.
Dalung denied receiving any court order from a Jos High Court in relation to the NFF unrest.
The minister, who had a brush with journalists when the latter protested against Dalung’s verbal accusation of corruption against the reporters, claimed that the only court orders concerning the NFF election were issued in 2014.
“As the minister of sports and a lawyer, till date, I have not received any court orders this year. The only orders served on me, were all dated 2014. I have not seen any order dated 2016,’’ Dalung insisted.
The minister noted that though association football law forbade litigations, Giwa’s decision to pursue his grievances in line with Section 41 of Nigerian law, if not regulated, would open the floodgates of confusion arising from decision of aggrieved parties to approach ordinary courts to resolve football disputes.
He scorned Giwa for being in a haste to execute a ‘court order’ without giving the other party the 30-day window permitted to appeal under the Nigerian law.
“You can’t go to court, get judgment and upon that judgment want to deny the other party the right to appeal. Anybody that is panicky is not a sincere person. If you have subscribed to be a member of the international football family, you have to bind by their rule on football. If you are not interested, then you go out,” Dalung said.
He said that the NFF crisis has effectively discouraged corporate bodies from sponsoring football in the country as no company wanted to invest in a business that thrives in confusion.
Dalung also appealed to Pinnick to narrow the gap with the opposition by bringing them to a table in the interest of Nigeria football.