On Tuesday, World football governing body FIFA sent a warning to the Nigeria Football Federation NFF that it has until the 20th of August to resolve the issues in the Glass house or receive a ban from all football related issues.
But what is this rancour in the Glass House all about?
The crisis emanated from the September 2014 elections in which Amaju Pinnick was declared winner only for his opposition, Chris Giwa to challenge the result.
The owner of Giwa FC and one-time chairman of Mighty Jets football club of Jos was elected president in an election conducted a month before, but that election was annulled as only 29 of 44 members voted. Hence another election was conducted by the Aminu Maigari-led board in Warri where Pinnick emerged winner and was approved by FIFA led by then president Sepp Blatter.
Since then, the Plateau state man – who contested the 2011 governorship election in the state which Jonah Jang won – has been moving from one court to the next challenging the September elections.
After almost 4 years, Giwa seemed to have gotten his wish as the Federal High Court in Jos nullified the Warri elections and mandated that the sports minister Solomon Dalung reinstate him as the president of the football federation and ordered that Pinnick’s led executives be ejected from the Glass House with immediate effect.
But, FIFA statutes rules against government intervention in the conduct of Football Associations. It also rules against local courts interfering in football related cases as such are only to be taken to the Court of Arbitration of Sports. Both rules have already been disobeyed by Nigeria in the course of this case and hence leaves the country looking into the eyes of the shortgun barrel of the FIFA ethics committee.
One can only wonder why an individual who claims to be a patriotic citizen of this country and wants what’s best for the nation’s football will challenge an incumbent FA chief who has done well so far and raised the bar as far as running football in Nigeria is concerned, let’s not forget the fact that Mr Giwa was elected president via a shambolic election that failed to meet the standard required by FIFA.
Also with experience in football administration, he should have known that from the moment he went to the courts in Nigeria to table his case he was dumping the nation’s football into the bin of jeopardy. But he had no choice as CAS had already ruled against him prior to that, this left the power-hungry Plateau-born man with little or no other option.
If the Amaju-led executives are not reinstated before the August 20th deadline, the ban will take immediate effect and this could lead to the suspension of the NPFL, disqualification of the Super Eagles from AFCON qualifiers, it will also lead to the disqualification of the men’s U-20 team from AYC qualifiers among others.
Further more, the crisis in the Glass House is an unwelcome distraction to the Super Eagles who play Seychelles on the 8th of September(if not banned by then) in what is a crucial qualifying match that could potentially mar any chances of qualifying for the AFCON.
With time running out, it is the hope of all football-loving Nigerians that the grievances held by Chris Giwa be set aside for the progress of football in Nigeria, else there won’t be a football federation to run.