Nigeria has finally escaped a ban by the The Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA through the Federal Government’s reaffirmation of Amaju Pinnick as the legitimate president of the Nigerian Football Federation NFF. The nation had made a timely move before the Monday 12.00Noon deadline earlier given by the world football governing body to resolve the crisis rocking the NFF, or face its wrath.
Both Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa have been fighting for the top office of the Nigeria Football Federation NFF. A situation that adversely affected football activities in Nigeria.
In a statement, FIFA threatened that if by 20 August, 2018, at 12 noon (CET), the NFF offices were not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under Amaju Pinnick who was duly elected on the 30th of September, 2014, the NFF would be suspended with immediate effect for contravening article 14, paragraph 1 and article 19, as well as article 14, paragraph 1a of the FIFA statutes.
If the ban was effected, it would be lifted only when the NFF under Amaju Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.
Giwa is currently serving a five-year FIFA ban for taking the case to a local (Nigerian) court, contrary to FIFA statutes which stipulate that football cases must be settled at the Court of Arbitration for Sports.
The two men, Pinnick and Giwa were elected NFF President by two different congresses , but FIFA recognised Pinnick as the legitimate NFF President. The clock was ticking and it was imperative for the Federal Government of Nigeria to act fast and restore sanity to the warring football house.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently waded into the imbroglio by directing the Department of State Security DSS to evict Giwa who had capitalised on Pinnick’s absence (then on official duty to 2018 world cup in Russia) to forcefully take over the football house in Abuja. The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung’s support for Giwa had further fuelled the crisis.
The Presidency had to break the deadlock by acting decisively to forestall any FIFA ban that will be disastrous to Nigerian football and especially the youth.
In its reaction, FIFA says it will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that “FIFA rules and regulations are fully adhered to”