By Eric Elezuo
While Ghana has accepted FIFA’s directive to stop the winding up of its Football Association as directed, Nigeria is yet to show sign of coming to terms with directives in order to avoid the hammer of suspension hanging over its head, even as the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung insists the country must follow the dictates of its law.
FIFA had threatened to ban Ghana and Nigeria from international football unless both governments stopped interfering in the administration of the game in their countries.
FIFA announced it had agreed to work with Ghana “to offer leadership in reforming football administration in Ghana and in Africa,” and to also “to eradicate corruption and malfeasance and other associated criminal conduct from the administration of football in Ghana.” This is as Ghana agreed to FIFA’s dictates.
But Nigeria, which received the same measure of threat following what appears a government sponsored bid to remove the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, from office, is not bulging even as the August 20 deadline draws dangerously close.
In spite of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s efforts when he met Pinnick and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, the crisis still lingers.
Reports said Osinbajo directed Dalung to avoid anything that would incur FIFA’s wrath on Nigeria, but the minister has come out to say the acting president never gave such orders. Dalung denied reports that Osinbajo has ‘stamped’ the Pinnick- led NFF board.
Making a case against FIFA, counsel to Chris Giwa, Ardzard Habilla, said FIFA cannot ban Nigeria, saying that the laws of Nigeria must supersede FIFA’s decision
NAN reports that the Giwa board went to court following Amaju Pinnick’s emergence as president in an election conducted on September 30, 2014 in Warri.
The election prevented Giwa, who won an earlier NFF presidential election in Abuja on August 26, 2014, from assuming office.
The Supreme Court in April set aside a 2016 judgment of the Appeal court on the leadership tussle and sent the matter back to a Federal High Court sitting in Jos, which had earlier mandated Giwa to take over as president.
Minister of Sports, whose body language suggests he is rooting for the Giwa faction has said that at no time did Osinbajo approved Pinnick.
“It is a planted story and a fake news. There was no directive from the VP countering the court order. However, the issue is still being handled by the Committee of NFF Elders Stakeholders, therefore, we are hopeful that the parties in the crisis will be able to come to an amicable resolution of the issue. Nevertheless, the status quo remains.”
While football loving Nigerians await Monday August 20, 2018, the onus lies on the sports administrators to do the needful to avert the dangling hammer from falling.