Chris Giwa, President of another faction of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), says Thursday’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Benin by the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF is not only illegal but also inconsequential.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Benin congress had, among other issues, directed a review of the NFF election guidelines in a bid to accommodate all aggrieved parties.
The directive, which was part of the communique issued by the congress at the end of the meeting, also asked all parties to withdraw their court cases.
As part of the reconciliatory move to resolve the ongoing crisis engulfing football in the country, the congress also considered lifting the ban on Giwa and members of his faction.
However, Giwa who spoke with NAN through Victor Iroele, his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media, said the congress was a mere gathering of Pinnick and his friends in Benin City.
“Pinnick gathered some of his close friends in Benin, with a view to holding what was termed a congress of the NFF, but he was unfortunately rebuffed by the host state, whose governor was neither present, nor any of his aides.
“Apparently, the governor chose to abide by the rule of law in respect of a Supreme Court judgment which reaffirmed Pinnick as being an illegal NFF president.
“This is the first time in recent memory that a supposed NFF congress will not have a government representative who is usually the Minister of Youths and Sports Development,” he said.
Iroele rejected Pinnick’s advice to Giwa to withdraw the orders of court recognising him as the NFF president with a view to contesting in a fresh election.
“What he sees as a compensation is out of place and an outright injustice.
“A Federal High Court sitting in Jos has declared the elective Congress of 2014 that brought Pinnick as illegal, null, void and of no consequence in law.
“The court has also, through Justice Haruna Kurya, affirmed that Giwa shall hold office as NFF President pending when the suit before that court would be determined.
“The same orders have been re-affirmed by the Supreme Court.
However, Pinnick continues to parade himself as the NFF president.
“The plea to reconcile with Giwa has indeed exposed his desperation to remain in office by having the court orders withdrawn,” he said.
Iroele also said the Benin congress has challenged the court’s competence and jurisdiction, adding that any reconciliatory move was supposed to be at the instance of Giwa and not Pinnick.
“In what seems to be another flagrant disregard for the laws of the land, the Benin City Congress challenged the competence and jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, declaring its orders as ‘unnecessary distraction’.
“The said communiqué says `there is no basis or foundation for the current court actions in the Federal High Court, Jos in Suit no FHC/J/CS/177/2014 over the same matter as it is clearly ultra vires to football rules and regulations.
`It is simply an unnecessary distraction to and detraction from the sustainable growth of football in Nigeria and has the potential to get Nigeria suspended from being a member of the global football family, FIFA’.”
“Ironically, Pinnick has approached the same court with three ex-parte motions seeking to grant him temporary stay as NFF president and as you know, the court rejected all three motions and adjourned the case to Sept. 25.
“However, I can confirm that several high-profile meetings are currently ongoing to fashion out ways to move the country’s football forward for the good of all Nigerians,” he said.