House panel affirms Pinnick as NFF President
The Sports Committee of the House of Representatives yesterday averred there was no crisis in Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), adding there was no dispute whatsoever that Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick remained the President of the nation’s football body.
At an interactive session with top officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, led by the Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung and chieftains of the NFF, led by second Vice President/LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, the House Committee, headed by Goni Bukar Lawan, expressed concern that a group, led by Mr. Chris Giwa, had been threatening the peace of Nigeria football and courting a FIFA sanction for the country.
The House Committee’s action followed a motion of ‘urgent national importance’ moved on the floor of the House of Representatives on Monday and the nation’s lower parliament thereafter mandated its Sports Committee to handle the matter.
At yesterday’s session at the National Assembly, Dalung, the Director of Legal Services in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Olatigbe Johnson and the NFF’s Head of Legal, Okey Obi, fully established that there was currently no court order nullifying the election of the incumbent NFF board, or asking Chris Giwa to take over at the NFF.
Minister Dalung remarked: “When the Giwa group served a notice of discontinuance to the court in October 2014, the court struck out the case and made it clear that the case was dead. I don’t know anyone else who has been able to raise the dead except Jesus Christ!
“What the court did on April 8 was simply to re-list the case for hearing. It did not sack the NFF Board and certainly did not ask Giwa to go and take over the NFF.”
Specifically, both Johnson and Obi read out the portion of the order made by Hon. Justice L. Allagoa, when the plaintiff withdrew the case in October 2014: “The Plaintiff having withdrawn this suit; all the orders made previously including the dissolution of the executive committee/Board of the Nigerian Football Federation vide the order of this honourable Court dated 23rd day of October 2014 seizes to have life and this matter stands struck out.”
NFF Second Vice President/LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, pointed out that in football, there are clear channels for dispute resolution, away from the ordinary court. He noted that Mr. Giwa had taken his case to the highest sports court – Court of Arbitration for Sports – and lost.
“If he had won at CAS, everyone in the Nigeria football family would have been obliged to submit to him. He lost. So, he should respect football rules and wait for the next elections.
“Some of the persons who took part in the ‘elections’ where Giwa claims to have been ‘elected’, also participated in the Warri elections that brought in Amaju Pinnick! Yet, some of them are strangely clinging to a ‘mandate’ supposedly given them alongside Giwa.”
Dikko also referred to recent cases involving Egypt and Benin Republic, saying that the threat of a ban looms large. “FIFA recently slammed a two –year ban on Benin Republic from all competitions because some persons went to court and stopped the elections into the Executive Committee of its football federation.
The House Committee on Sports members were unanimous that since the matter has such distinct clarity, Mr. Giwa has no reason to be laying claim to the office of NFF President.
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