The first university graduate to play for the senior national team of Nigeria, Dr. John Oganwu, has advised aggrieved members of the Nigeria football family to sheathe their sword in the interest of the nation, and wait to contest elections in September 2018, when the tenure of the Amaju Pinnick –led board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would be over.
Speaking at the weekend, Oganwu was of the view that “since the highest court in sports, the Court of Arbitration for Sports, has dealt conclusively with this matter, and dismissed it, any other discussion or deliberation on it is ill-advised.”
He was referring to the case by Chris Giwa and group against the election of the Pinnick executive committee.
Oganwu earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Ibadan in 1971 before turning out for the then Green Eagles in 1972.
He was in the Nigeria team for the football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games but had to leave the camp for his graduate work few months before the competition.
“I dare say that the resurrection of this unwholesome matter has to do with the non-familiarity of the present Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, with the principles of association football. If he were acquainted with the FIFA rules and regulations, he would simply have dismissed the case from the first time it was brought to his notice.
“As a member of FIFA, we are bound by the FIFA rules and regulations, as captured in the FIFA Statutes. You don’t take football matters to ordinary courts. It is there, clearly spelt out,” stressed the ex international.
Oganwu, who got his doctorate degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Cornell University, USA, advised that the agitators be brought up to speed with the dictates of FIFA and trends in modern football administration.
“The responsibility rests with those of us who are familiar with the FIFA rules to advise Giwa and his group to wait for the next elections, after the four-year tenure of Amaju Pinnick and his board. Football unites the country, more than the entertainment purpose it serves. Anything that will lead to exclusion of our country from the international football community should be discouraged, even vehemently opposed,” concludes Oganwu.