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.