Power Tussle: Court Adjourns Case Involving Ex-NFF Chairman Maigari To September

A Federal High Court sitting in the Jos judicial division has adjourned the case involving former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Chairman, Aminu Maigari and former Secretary General, Musa Amadu, to September 25, 2018.

This is because the court is on vacation. Justice Musa Kurye while adjourning the matter on Tuesday advised counsels in the matter to apply to the Chief Justice of Nigeria for fiat in order to have the case heard during the vacation period or seek for the transfer of the case to Abuja if any of the party wants a speedy trial.

Since 2014, there has been a legal battle for the running of affairs for the NFF when the duo of Yahaya Adama and Obinna Ogba commenced a suit seeking declaratory and injunctive reliefs against the then chairman of NFF Aminu Maigari and the then Secretary General, Musa Amadu as well as the defunct executive committee of the NFF to the effect that the Congress and election of the NFF held on August 26, 2014, was the only valid election.

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Festus Keyamo Withdraws As Lawyer To Aminu Maigari, Musa Ahmadu

The legal tussle had been on and off until the Supreme Court ordered that the suit be relisted and remitted back to the Federal High Court for retrial on the merits and when the trial came up for hearing once again, it was arguments by the counsels bothering on several legal terms and jurisprudence.

The twist was introduced into the matter after the appearance of a new counsel to represent Aminu Maigari and Musa Amadu to the amazement of the counsel Festus Keyamo.

Keyamo eventually announced the withdrawal of his legal services to the defendants which the judge rightly obliged. Samuel Shankyula is then recognised as the new counsel to the defendants.

Justice Musa Kurye had to proceed on a recess to determine another issue bothering on the withdrawal of an earlier application filed by the defence on May 28, 2018, urging the trial judge to recuse himself from conducting the trial suit.

On resumption, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs have a right to respond to the withdrawal in the spirit of justice and fairness.

After several arguments by the counsels, Justice Kurye ruled that the matter be adjourned to the September 25 to allow the new counsel to brief his clients as well as go through the application for withdrawal.

Festus Keyamo Withdraws As Lawyer To Aminu Maigari, Musa Ahmadu

The Spokesman for the President Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo

 

Festus Keyamo has withdrawn his legal services as the lawyer of a former NFF boss, Aminu Maigari and his Musa Ahmadu in a case ongoing at the Federal High Court in Jos.

The withdrawal of the Senior Advocate is as a result of the appearance of another counsel, Samuel Shankyula, who announced that he will now defend Maigari and Ahmadu with an affidavit deposed to the effect.

Justice Musa Kurye granted subsequently granted Keyamo’s request to withdraw and accepted Samuel Shankyula as the new counsel.

Festus Keyamo has been defending the trio of Aminu Maigari, Musa Ahmadu and the Plateau State Football Association as well as the 36 states of the Federation, and the Federal Capital Territory Football Associations until the latest development.

The case has, however, now been adjourned till September 25 for continuation.

Justice Kurye while adjourning the matter advised counsels to apply to the Chief Justice for fiat for the hearing of the case during the court vacation, or seek for its transfer to Abuja.

The plaintiffs (Yahaya Adama and Obinna Ogba) commenced the suit in 2014, seeking declarative and injuctive relief against the defendants to the effect that the congress and election of the NFF held on August 26, 2014, was the only and valid one.

We Need FIFA Ban To Get Things Correctly – Ex International

Larry_KubenjeA former Nigerian international footballer, Mr Larry Kubenje, believes that Nigeria needs to be banned from participating in FIFA organised competitions for things to be done correctly.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, on Monday, Mr Kubenje said: “People are already scared that FIFA will ban us; we need the ban to get it correctly. This problem will continue all the way in another ten years”.

He blamed Nigeria’s sports woes on former Ministers of Sports and didnt spare the present one either.

He said the minister, instead of rallying aggrieved stakeholders, “was pushing his interests”.

“Amaju’s coming wasn’t the making of the Minister; he had his own candidate. When people begin to push their selfish interest in front, Nigeria will never get it”.

Mr Kubenje, who also noted that the problem of Nigerian football started years ago, added that Nigeria had a bad football structure that has to be dismantled and restructured.

He argued that the premier league was a “mess”. “It is a battle between “the club owners, the NFF and the board”.

Justice Ambrose Alagoa of the Federal High Court in Jos had on Thursday annulled the September 30 NFF electionsiheld in Warri that produced Mr Amaju Pinnick as the President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).

He had also declared as null and void the NFF Elective Congress held on that day, thereby restoring to power the Giwa-led board which was elected in Abuja on Aug. 26.

The decision had meant the board led by Amaju Pinnick should vacate office.

The NFF Executive Committee, led by Amaju Pinnick, has filed for a Stay-of-Execution of the order at the same court, which the court said it will be hear on Wednesday.

However, unless there is change of cognisance in the leadership of the NFF, the world soccer ruling body, FIFA may suspend Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) today from international competitions and all football related activities.

This is even as the Super Eagles still have hope of qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to defend their crown and the Golden Eaglets, the reigning champions of the world, ready to compete at the African Championship to be eligible to travel to Chile to defend their world title next year.

With the Super Falcons wining title for seventh time during the weekend, they may miss out on playing in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

 

Amaju Pinnick Emerges As New NFF President

Amaju-Pinnick-400x300Amaju Pinnick has emerged as the new President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) after winning the general elections held in Warri, Delta State.

Pinnick, who is the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, won the election by 32 votes after it went into a re-run and will replace Aminu Maigari as the new President of the NFF for the next four years.

Two rounds of voting were needed to determine the clear winner of the election after Pinnick got 29 votes out of the 44 accredited delegates, but it was not enough to secure a two-third victory.

However, in the run-off between former General Secretary of the NFF, Taiwo Ogunjobi, Dominic Iorfa and Pinnick, it was the latter who got the votes again that saw him emerge triumphant.

This time, Pinnick got 32 votes while Iorfa got 8 and Ogunjobi got just four votes.

More details to follow.

NFF Congress: Candidates Are Offering N3 Million Bribe For Votes – Sports Journalist

Nnamdi_ObanyaA sports journalist, Mr Nnamdi Obanya on Tuesday said candidates running for positions on the board of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) are reported to be offering between N2 to N3 million bribes to candidates that will vote for them during the congress.

Mr Obanya said “we are hearing all sorts, some we want to believe and some we don’t want to believe” adding that “delegates are being offered between N2 to N3 million to vote for certain candidates”, he said on Sunrise Daily.

He further noted that those trying to use a court injunction to stop the NFF elections that “a Federal High Court, an Appeal Court, a State High Court or a Magistrate Court don’t have any jurisdiction over the NFF” insisting that “only the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) has any jurisdiction over the NFF.

“The NFF is under CAF, which is under FIFA and it is a federation. And by your constitutional right, and freedom of association, you cannot stop anybody from a holding a congress within the constitution of the association and that is what NFF is doing”, maintaining that “it is as simple as that”.

He further noted that “there has been no criminal activity, which is the only reason you can call for such injunctions and the likes”.
He accused ‘some people’ of trying to test their importance at the NFF, adding that “security agents again tried to pick up (Aminu) Maigari, but this time he was able to find his way out”.

He added that despite ‘tough talks’ by (Taiwo) Ogunjobi and (Amanze) Uchegbulam, “it looks like it is a straight fight between (Shehu) Dikko and (Amaju) Pinnick; they seem to be the two front runners; they seem to be the two candidates that most people think will win the election”.

He also expressed hope that the “palpable tension in Warri now will not translate into something else when the time comes”.

Already, representatives of the world football governing body, FIFA, and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), led by Ghana’s Football Federation (GFA) President, Kwesi Nyantaki, have arrived in Warri for the elective congress.

Among the candidates vying to replace outgoing NFF president, Aminu Maigari, are Amaju Pinnick from Delta State, Amanze Uchegbulam from Imo State, Taiwo Ogunjobi (Osun), Shehu Dikko (Kaduna) and Dominic Iorfa from Benue State.

Others are incumbent first vice president, Mike Umeh (Anambra) and Abba Yola (Kano State).

Candidates for the first vice president position are Emeka Inyama (Imo), Seyi Akinwunmi (Lagos State), Adamu Shehu (Kaduna) and Suleyman Muazu from Sokoto State.

The delegates will also elect zonal representatives on the board.

Sports Journalist Blames NFF For Super Eagles’ Loss

Super EaglesSports Editor at The Sun Newspapers, George Aluo, says nothing has changed in the crisis rocking the Nigerian Football Federation and this has started affecting the Super Eagles’ performances.

He said this on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Monday, less that 48 hours after the country’s national team lost 2-3 at home to Congo in their opening qualifying match for the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

There had been a deadline of 8AM Nigerian Time on Monday September 8, for the Nigerian Football Federation to settle its crisis or face FIFA sanction, but Aluo said that those parading themselves as NFF board had refused to heed the instructions of FIFA despite having been given enough grace.

He linked the Super Eagles’ home loss to Congo in the AFCON qualifier to the NFF crisis. He said that Nigeria lost because it failed to do the right thing.

A direct fallout of why it is not good for our football was our losing to Congo. For 40 years Nigeria has never lost to Congo, we have never lost a game in Calabar, the worst result result we’ve gotten was the draw we got against Kenya.

That is because we did not do our homework before that game and in football these days, every country gets to these battles prepared.”

He noted that as things stood, everything was pointing to Nigeria being sanctioned and the implication of this would be that Nigeria, who are the AFCON Defending Champion, might not be at Morocco 2015, as there is usually no second chance to replay any missed qualifier.

It would be very very painful if Nigerian is not in Morocco 2015 just because some people are holding our football to ransom,” he said.

He stressed that FIFA is not interested in any of the candidates vying for the leadership of the NFF, as all that the world football governing body wants is for Nigeria to respect its statutes.

He stated that as long as a country is part of an international organisation it must abide by its statutes. “We can’t just do it our own way,” he added.

He noted that the crisis situation had been caused by the personal interests of some persons, adding that the interest of the Government, who is the main financier of the sport in Nigeria, has also been an issue as FIFA frowns at their usual control of the game.

Government should respect FIFA’s statutes,” he said. He added that Nigeria was not the only country where Government puts money in football but what they do is to allow the system run according to the rules of FIFA.

Why is it that it is every four years after the World Cup that we have this same crisis?” he asked, as he emphasized the sharp practices of some stakeholders which, he said, were meant to bend the rules to enforce their personal interests.

In the interest of our nation, Giwa should step down, and there should be a fresh election.”

NFF Crisis: Minister Must Denounce Giwa To Avoid FIFA Sanction – Tijani

NFFA veteran Nigerian Sports Journalist, Kayode Tijani, has frowned at the manner in which the crisis in the Nigerian Football Federation is being handled.

Tijani spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily via the telephone from Abuja, to share his views on the goings on in Nigerian football administration.

He stated that the only way for Nigeria to avoid heavy sanctions was for the Sports Minister to denounce the factional NFF President, Chris Giwa, and put security at the Federation Secretariat latest by 8AM on Monday, September 8 “to let the Maigari faction take over”.

He explained that even if the Government was the major financier of the NFF, it still has to abide by the recommendations of world football governing body, FIFA, who is threatening heavy sanctions over the matter.

He refused to condemn the decision to unseat embattled NFF President, Aminu Maigari, but asked that things be done properly without attracting sanctions that would damage the image of the country and the entire sport sector.

As recommended by FIFA, there must be a congress chaired by Aminu Maigari, whom they recognize as the NFF President, for their to be any change in leadership.

Nigerians have suggested that Government taking its hands off football matters could reduce the regular crisis in the organisation and Tijani said that although it would take a while for things to stabilize, the move might be productive in the end.

He cited the League Management Committee as an example of the kind of independence that could be good for the NFF.

On the insistence of factional President of the NFF, Chris Giwa that only the Court of Arbitration for Sports could ask him to vacate the office, Tijani said, “If he wants that there is no problem but first of all resign or remove yourself from there.

You can’t be staying in there and saying you want the Court of Arbitration panel. Its not even in his power. There is supposed to be a congress.”

Tijani blamed greed for the crisis, as everyone was “rushing there because of the cash the Government is bringing”. To him, there is no other basis for anyone to put personal interest ahead of the risk of Nigeria being banned by FIFA.

He warned of the possibility of all potential corporate sponsors of Nigerian football withdrawing their support of the game as they would not want to be associated with controversies.

The man, fondly referred to as the ‘Sport Encyclopedia’, believes that the impact of this on the Super Eagles’ performances would definitely be negative.

He also frowned at the practice of some media practitioners who have decided to take sides in the matter. He urged them to learn from Channels Television who have reported the crisis without bias, as this was the only way to help Nigeria move forward.

House Orders NFF To Conduct Fresh Elections

House-of-Reps5The House of Representatives Committee on Sports has urged all parties in the Nigerian Football Federation to meet as soon as possible to decide a new road map for the federation and schedule an election to bring in new officials.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Sports, Rep. Godfrey Gaiya, said the resolution is in line with the latest FIFA advice.

Rep. Godfrey Gaiya said the committee arrived at the resolution after a three day interactive session with various stakeholders of the Nigerian football house declared that “the agenda for Congress of August 26, 2014 was not elective as attested to by notice of NFF General Assembly issued by the General Secretary.

“Since the August 26, 2014 Congress did not conform to NFF Statute/Regulation, the Committee urges all interested parties to have recourse to the advice contained in FIFA letter of September  3, 2014,”, he said.

He urged the NFF Congress “to meet soonest to decide a new road map and schedule an election that will allow all eligible Nigerians to participate freely and fairly to usher in fresh air and sanity into the Nigeria Football House.”

FIFA had in the letter directed Giwa and other purportedly elected officials of the federation to vacate the Glass House latest on September 8 or the federation will be suspended.

FIFA Threatens To Suspend Nigeria Over NFF Elections

FIFA President Joseph Blatter addresses news conference in HavanaNigeria face yet another ban and the possibility of expulsion from the African Nations Cup if they continue to uphold the results of disputed elections last week, FIFA warned on Wednesday.

Nigeria have until Monday to restore to power Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Aminu Maigari, deposed in an election last week while he was detained by police in a second attempt to oust him from office since the World Cup.

FIFA said in a statement it had sent a letter to the NFF confirming that Nigeria will be suspended “should there still be persons claiming to have been elected to NFF positions on 26 August 2014 and occupying their offices on Monday, 8 September 2014 at 07.00.

NFF elections last week saw Chris Giwa take over as president but his election has been widely disputed within Nigerian football and rejected by FIFA.

Maigari was arrested at the same time as the poll, in an unsubtle attempt to keep him from the vote, and held by police but not questioned and later released.

The involvement of security forces led Nigerian media to speculate the giant west African country’s government were seeking to unseat Maigari but wary of FIFA’s policy of no government interference in the running of its member associations.

Maigari had also been held for a brief period after arriving home from Brazil in July following Nigeria’s elimination in the World Cup last 16 when a first bid to sweep him from power was made by rivals.

A court order was obtained by a rival faction ordering an immediate election in July but world football’s governing body rejected this too, suspending Nigeria for seven days before the status quo was restored.

FIFA’s latest threat means Nigeria could be stopped from playing their scheduled Nations Cup qualifier in South Africa next Wednesday which would effectively see them out of the competition and unable to defend the title they won in 2013.

They can however go ahead with the opening Group A qualifier against Congo in Calabar on Saturday.

“Should the new deadline not be respected, the NFF will be automatically suspended until the board claiming to be elected vacates the premises of the NFF and the NFF General Secretary is able to perform his work without interference,” FIFA said.

“The NFF Executive Committee as it was composed on 25 August 2014, meaning under the presidency of Aminu Maigari, should then convene as soon as possible a first extraordinary general assembly to elect the members of the electoral committee and a second extraordinary general assembly in the shortest time possible allowed by law in order to proceed with the elections of new NFF office-bearers.”

NFF Factional President Resumes

NFF-logoThere seems to be no end to the crisis in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), as a factional president of the association, Mr Christopher Giwa, resumed office amidst dispute by members of the football body.

Mr Giwa, who arrived the glass-house at 2:00pm on Wednesday, was interviewed by reporters about the credibility of his elections, and the factions in the NFF.

A faction of the NFF, however, maintain that the football federation would hold its elections on September 4.

Giwa was elected as the leader of the NFF in a disputed election held on Tuesday, a day after the former President Aminu Maigari resigned his position.

The Maigari-led administration was accused of misappropriation of funds and other irregularities.

On August 20, the building of the NFF, popularly known as the Glass House, in Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, was saved from burning down by firefighters.

No casualty was recorded in the fire incident which the Secretary-General of the federation, Musa Ahmadu, confirmed it started from the chief accountant’s office. The fire further spread to that of the President and Secretary-General before it was put-off.

 

NFF Lifts Ban On Ogunjobi, Others

NFF-logoThe Nigeria Football Federation has lifted the ban from all football-related activities, it placed on former Secretary-General of the federation, Taiwo Ogunjobi.

According to a communique signed by Emeka Inyama, the Executive Committee of the NFF, chaired by reinstated President, Aminu Maigari, also lifted the ban placed on Mr Adedapo Lam-Adesina, who is the former Commissioner of Sports in Oyo state, Mr Chikelue Iloanusi and Mr Harrison Jalla.

“In the spirit of fair-play, leading to the elections, all persons banned for various lengths of time, are hereby unbanned. These persons are: Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, Mr. Adedapo Lam-Adesina, Mr. Chikelue Iloanusi and Mr. Harrison Jalla,” the Committee said, noting that “the ban on Mr. Ahmed Shuaib Gara-Gombe had long been lifted”

The Executive Committee advised all football stakeholders in the country to “refrain from actions capable of causing divisions, rancour and acrimony in Nigeria football”.

The Executive Committee of the NFF also decided that the General Assembly of August 26, 2014 would be composed of the delegates to the 2013 General Assembly in Warri, including those from Plateau and Yobe State Football Associations.

“In view of the prevailing circumstances in Nigeria football, there is the absolute need to present a new roadmap leading to elections into the NFF Executive Committee, for consideration and approval by the General Assembly, being the supreme body of Nigeria football, at the Congress slated for Tuesday, 26th August, 2014 in Warri, Delta State,” it said.

Members of both the Electoral Committee and Electoral Appeals Committee, who were earlier removed, would also be re-admitted at the Congress to continue with their electoral duties.

NFF Suspends Chris Green For Anti-Board Activities

NFF logoThe Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation have suspend Chris Green and another member of the board for indulging in anti-board activities.

Head of NFF Technical Committee, Barrister Chris Green and another member of the executive committee, Yusuf Ahmed were handed six months and a year suspension, respectively, for anti-board activities, while a third person, Yahaya-Kwande awaits probe.

In a communique released and signed by chairman of the Communique Drafting Committee, Emeka Inyama, said the NFF suspends Chris Green for participating in anti-board activities, including facilitating and participating in an unauthorized gathering in Abuja as well as granting media interviews that tended to put the football governing body and Nigerian football in bad light.

”For reasons of glaring anti-Board activities, including facilitating and participating in an unauthorized gathering in Abuja, as well as case of forgery to unilaterally alter the decision of the Executive Committee on tenure of Management Staff, Alh. Yusuf Ahmed ‘Fresh’ was suspended from the Executive Committee and banned from all football –related activities for one (1) year, pending the ratification of the General Assembly”.

”For reasons of glaring anti-Board activities, including facilitating and participating in an unauthorized gathering in Abuja and giving media interviews that tended to put the NFF and Nigeria football in bad light, Barr. Christopher Green was suspended from the Executive Committee and banned from all football –related activities for six (6) months, pending the ratification of the General Assembly”.

The decisions are to be ratified by the General Assembly, while a similar case brought against Yahaya-Kwande is to be further investigated.

“Having admitted presence at the unauthorized gathering and with his explanations and due apologies, the Executive Committee decided to further investigate a similar case of anti-Board activities against another Member, Hon. Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande. All persons concerned were confronted with the accusations and given ample opportunity to defend themselves.”

The NFF justifies the sanctions to the duo saying the decisions were in line with Article 34 (m) and Article 37 (1 & 5) of the NFF Statutes.

It would be recalled that Aminu Maigari was impeached as president of the NFF as a result of what the NFF termed as “misappropriation and mismanagement” of funds.