Confusion trails Nigerian football again

A fresh bout of confusion is about to engulf Nigerian football over the resolution passed by the Nigeria Football Federation Elections Appeals Committee on the September 30 elections.

In a report released by Okey Ajunwa, Chairman of the committee, the election of  Amaju Pinnick conducted on the 30th September in Warri was nullified.

The Chairman in a three hour ruling pronounced also that all candidates in the 26th August and 30th September disputed elections stand to re-contest the bye-election which he fixed for a week from Thursday.

By this decision, former NFA Secretary General, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, winner of the 26th August election Ambassador Chris Giwa and the disqualified presidential aspirant in the 30th September elections, Shehu Dikko who was adjudged to have been wrongfully disqualified will enjoy a fresh breathe to contest the bye-election.

The ruling also gave a fresh window to Barrister Iyke Igbokwe to contest the election while Felix Anyansi-Agwu and his Kano counterpart, Inuwa Shariff got their elections nullified while they were also disqualified from contesting the bye-election.

The committee ruled that both states can only have one representative on the NFF board, acknowledging that the mentioned states already have representatives in Emeka Inyama and Ahmed Kawu.

However, Ajunwa ruled that the bye-elections be held in Abuja.

The positions to be filled in the bye-election are:

First Vice President,
Board member South East and,
Board member North West.

The election of Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi as first vice president of the NFF in Warri also got a knock. His election suffered the gavel based on the petition of Alhaji Suleiman Muazu.

The re-election was however hung on one clause for all the candidates that will re-contest. All cleared candidates with existing cases against the NFF in courts within Nigeria or at the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) , must withdraw such cases forthwith, before they can participate in the bye elections.

However, twenty four hours, before Ajunwa’s ruling became public, a similar report from the other members of the committee upheld the Warri elections and dismissed all appeals. This ‘report’ was a one and a half page document issued by the Media section of the NFF.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Thursday before delivering his main report, Ajunwa said other committee members who “hastily” upheld the September polls are not legal practitioners and were ignorant of the law.

“None of them is a lawyer, I am the lawyer and I know the law, I have gathered the results of the committee and I will read them out in accordance with FIFA and CAF rules,” Mr. Ajunwa told reporters in Abuja.

He declared: “The elections of Amaju Pinnick is hereby nullified and he is barred from parading himself as the President of the Nigeria Football Federation hence.”

He also ruled that the election was marred by violence and abuse.

He questioned why the poll was held in Delta State, the home of Pinnick, and said another contestant for the office, Shehu Dikko, was wrongly disqualified on the elections day.

Journalists who covered the presentation of the report praised the transparency with which the chairman of the committee

Electoral Appeals Committee members rubbish Ajunwa’s claims

But other members of the appeals committee who released their own report a day earlier rubbished the chairman, Ajunwa’s claims.

The other members dismissed it as a mere minority report that is of no consequence - and therefore null and void.

Speaking in Abuja, the members lampooned Okey Ajunwa and stated that they are merely holding back from revealing the much they know about how he has, unfortunately, conducted himself since he was appointed to head the committee.

“Barr. Ajunwa failed in several aspects in this assignment. He failed to invoke the meeting of the Electoral Appeals Committee and it was when time had ran out on the appeals that he woke up suddenly to call for a hearing,” the members said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of Nigeria Football Federation has accepted in its entirety, the decision of the NFF 2014 Electoral Appeals Committee as conveyed to the NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu, after the Committee’s meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, 3rd December, 2014.

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande praised the members of the committee for a thorough job, and opined that the dissension of the chairman of the committee with a small area of the appeals was of no effect.

“It is a committee that was put in place, and the principle of committees is known all over the world. The chairman of a committee has a casting vote; when there is a tie among the members. In this case, all the other members voted to uphold the NFF 2014 Elective Congress in its entirety, and that made the chairman’s dissenting voice to be meaningless.

“The NFF Executive Committee had the power to stop the NFF 2014 Electoral Appeals Committee from hearing the appeals, because the Electoral Code was clear on timing. The appeals must have been submitted within 14 days after the election, and the hearing must have been done 14 days after the appeals. Everything was supposed to have been concluded, in this case, by 24th October 2014, as the last appeal was presented on 10th October, but the first sitting of the committee took place on 29th October.”

Yahaya-Kwande, who is a Member of the House of Representatives, said the magnanimity of the NFF Executive Committee in allowing the committee to sit, deserves praise.

“Instead of the entire process of appeals and hearing to be concluded by the end of October, we had a situation in which the Electoral Appeals Committee held its first sitting on 29th October.

“There is not much to be said about the decisions other than to commend the members and accept it in its entirety. The NFF Executive Committee takes this whole thing in good faith and we can now properly set out on putting plans and processes in place to accomplish our vision of taking Nigeria football to heights never before attained.”

The NFF 2014 Electoral Committee issued a press statement on Wednesday night conveying its decision to uphold the NFF 2014 Elective Congress in its entirety.

NFF General Secretary, Barr. Musa Amadu, has already conveyed the Committee members’ report to the Honourable Minister/Chairman, National Sports Commission, Dr. Tammy Danagogo through the office of the Director General, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, world football –governing body FIFA and the continental body, CAF.

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