It is no longer news that the world football governing body, FIFA, has given the government and people of Nigeria through the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) up to 12 noon on Monday, August 20 to confirm to it in writing that the Federation, under the leadership of Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, has been handed over the full control of the affairs of the NFF secretariat.
This warning from FIFA ìs coming following many weeks of struggles to control the NFF leadership and the Federation’s secretariat by Ambassador Christopher Giwa and his board members who have for over 3 years now been laying claim to the presidency of the NFF executive board.
Giwa has been in the Nigerian courts- High, Appeal and Supreme–to seek for the validation of his mandate which he claims has been denied him by President Pinnick. There has been claims and counter claims by both men on the legitimacy of the two NFF General Elections held in Abuja and Warri in 2014.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has delivered judgement and has clearly advised the parties in dispute to return to the lower court in Jos, Plateau, where the case originated to start it all over to determine the authentic president.
This advice has not been adhered to at this point.
But before heading to court, Giwa had approached the Court of Abitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland. His case was looked into and was dismissed, and not satisfied with the decision of CAS he turned to the ordinary court to obtain justice.
This approach to the Ordinary Court in Nigeria to resolve Football Matters by Giwa has since attracted to him serious sanctions from the NFF Executive Board led by Amaju Pinnick. He was placed on a five-year worldwide ban along side some of the members of his group.
Not amused by the turn of events Giwa will not give up hence the renewed vigor to get what he believes belong to him. And this has led to the take over of the NFF secretariat with the aid of the police on the order from above, and later the re-taking of the same place by the Department of State Security (DSS) on another order from above,in favour of the Pinnick board this time.
Apparently not happy with the happenings in its affiliate association, FIFA has come out with a threat to slam a blanket ban on Nigeria if by mid- day on Monday, August 20, 2018 it fails to get a written letter from the FIFA-recognized President and General Secretary, Amaju Melvin Pinnick and Dr. Mohammed Sanusi. The letter must confirm that they have been handed over the NFF Secretariat and given the full power to run the affairs of the NFF. This is where Nigeria is now.
Regrettably, it looks like the FIFA hammer will fall on Nigeria on Monday but even the Federal Government is not worried about the ripple effects the ban will bring upon the country and her millions of football players, coaches, referees, scouts, sports journalists, sponsors, administrators, and those who provide essential services for the beautiful game.
It now beats one’s imagination that a country that laboured too much in the 1940s to get Nigeria admitted by FIFA to belong to the world football family is now calling the bluff of FIFA in 2018. What will members of the UK Tourists, the first Nigeria Football Team which played barefoot during the playing tour of the United Kingdom in their determined efforts to impress the world that football can be played in Nigeria by Nigerians.
May I therefore use this platform to call on the Federal Government to save the Federal Republic of Nigeria from the worldwide embarrassment the Monday’ s ban by FIFA will cause Nigeria and her citizens.
This will also be breaking news for the media in Western countries who only report negative stories about our country.