The Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have taken a key step in ending the ongoing tussle over the leadership of the Federation by announcing the lifting of football bans handed to self-acclaimed President of the Federation, Chris Giwa and a few others.
Arising after their meeting and shortly before the 2018 Extra-ordinary General Assembly held in Benin City on Thursday, the Executive committee reeled out these developments, subject to ratification by the Assembly as they bid to put a definite end to the protracted crisis.
As expected, the Assembly duly obliged in ratifying the proposition of the Executive Committee which included the aforementioned and other matters relating to Chris Giwa and his group of embattled factional Executive Committee.
Notable among the other decisions as issued in the Communique after the General Assembly was the provisional readmission of Giwa FC, a club owned by Chris Giwa to the second tier of Nigerian football league, the NNL. Giwa FC were relegated from the elite league in 2016 after a series of breach to the framework and organisational conduct of the league.
Nigeria’s various football leagues have been put on hold ever since a Supreme Court judgement – ostensibly mandating the Amaju Pinnick-led Executive board of the NFF to step aside while the re-trial of Chris Giwa’s court case is heard at the High Court in Jos – was enforced.
However, the Assembly on Thursday gave a directive for the leagues – NPFL, NNL, NWFL, NLO – to recommence for the end of the 2017/18 football season.
“The Congress mandated the Executive Committee to ensure the commencement of all football programmes, including Leagues, Aiteo Cup, Zenith Bank U13 & U15 Future Eagles Championship, among others, and directed the relevant NFF standing committees to appropriate support in this regard,” read a part of the Communique.
The current four-year term of the Pinnick-led executives is expected to elapse next month with a new election scheduled for the end of September. However, the Assembly held that the date was no longer feasible. Additionally, persons previously under ban are also expected to participate in the elective congress.
“The Congress as part of the wider reconciliation efforts, has mandated and approved for the NFF Electoral Committee to review the ongoing NFF electoral processes, guidelines and reopen the process for any qualified interested stakeholder to participate, including those that may qualify after meeting the set conditions of taking football matters out of ordinary courts as outlined above,” added the communique.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Football Federation on May 12, 2016 slammed a five-year ban from all football related activities on Chris Giwa, Sani Fema, Muazu Suleiman, Yahaya Adama and Effiong Johnson for taking football matters to domestic courts.