From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
After several hours of brainstorming in Abuja yesterday, elders of the Nigerian football family have resolved to reconcile the Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa warring factions in the interest of Nigerian football.
The two individuals have factionalised the NFF for almost a year over claims to the leadership of the football federation.
After the round table parley summoned by Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, the select group of 21 elders, comprising former NFF Chairmen, former Secretary Generals, former board members, national coaches, resolved to intervene and end the crisis that was adjudicated up to the Supreme Court.
Those at the meeting included Col Abdulmumuni Aminu, (rtd) Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, Dr Tijani Yusuf, Aminu Maigari, Dr Sam Jaja, and Gen OU Olatoye.
Also in attendance were Pepsie Adiukwu, Chris Green, Abba Muktah, Bolaji Ojooba, Honour Sirawo, Dele Ologbese, Lumumba Adeh, Fanny Amun and Mitchel Obi.
Prof Onye Gyewado, Kojo Williams, Ikeddy Isiguzo, Emmanuel Zira and Ahmed Sani Toro, made up the group.
Ex- international, Olusegun Odegbami and Senator Obinna Ogba, listed as members of the group were absent.
Dalung, who read the resolutions after the issues were extensively discussed, said the patriotic intervention of the elders would ensure the restoration of unity at the “Glasshouse”.
“After thorough discussions, revision and analysis of everything that relates to peace and unity in the football family, the elders in the football family have resolved they will go into the crisis and reconcile the different parties so as to allow Nigerian football to grow. The meeting was motivated by an African adage that if there is an elder at home, the infant can not die of hunger,” Dalung said.
The Giwa faction was expelled from NFF secretariat on Monday by operatives of Department of State Services (DSS), which reinstated Pinnick on the order of government.
But Dalung insisted that the Supreme Court ruling which restored the orders of the High Court of Jos granting Giwa reliefs, had not been vacated.
The minister, who presented the genesis of the crisis, laid the blame on Pinnick for failing to make concessions to the Giwa faction.
“I inherited the crisis that was inconclusive before President Goodluck Jonathan vacated office. Giwa resurrected the court processes because he felt abandoned by Pinnick, who reneged on terms brokered by Jonathan,” Dalung said.
He listed some of the concessions demanded by Giwa to include the chairmanship of an NFF committee and the headship of the League Management Company (LMC).
“Giwa also asked for three slots to be given to the members of his group to travel to Russia for World Cup to promote unity, but NFF claimed those on the list were people banned by FIFA. They also gave an excuse that they had no money to accommodate those that were not banned. People have accused me of having vested interest because I am from Plateau like Giwa so people from Plateau don’t deserve justice. It is not fair”.