Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:34 pm
Nigeria has avoided the impending seven month ban by world football governing body, FIFA, when the Jos Federal High Court struck out a case against the legality of the election of the board members of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF.
The election in Warri late September, which produced Amaju Pinnick as chairman, had defied a court order that it should not be held.
Another group of claimants to the NFF board membership, led by Chris Giwa had gone to court to challenge the dissolution of their own board after another election in August.
The crisis was dramatically resolved today when Giwa’s group decided to withdraw the matter in court.
Justice Ambrose Allagoa was offered no other choice than to strike the matter out.
“I have struck out the matter… The suit ceases to have life,” said j Allagoa.
Giwa’s lawyer Habila Ardzard said the decision had been made “as a result of pleas from so many well-meaning Nigerians and in the national interest”.
Joshua Onoja, representing the NFF, also confirmed that the case had been discontinued.
A leadership crisis engulfed Nigeria’s NFF for the past four months despite several interventions by FIFA.It began in July a Jos court sacked the NFF then led by Aminu Maigari. The sports minister appointed a civil servant to run the federation. FIFA was angry and suspended Nigeria briefly.
Then came the election of Chris Giwa. FIFA refused to recognise it. The Giwa group took the matter to court in contravention of FIFA statutes forbidding football issues to be deliberated in a civil court.
After this, another election was held in Warri on 30 September, which produced Pinnick. FIFA recognised this, but the pending court case in Jos introduced twists and turns in the matter.
A letter from FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke to Pinnick on Wednesday gave Nigeria up till Friday noon to end all the comedy.
“This gives Nigerian football a last opportunity to avoid a lengthy suspension,” stated Valcke in his letter.
“We inform you that if by Friday 31 October 2014 at midday Nigerian time we have not received proof that the case (the Jos Federal High Court ruling that sacked the Pinnick led NFF board) has been definitively withdrawn from court and that the board elected on 30 September 2014 is able to carry out its activities without any hindrance, we will refer the case to the FIFA Emergency Committee for implementation of the suspension,” he added.
The country’s sports minister, Tamuno Danagogo also arranged a peace meeting among the gladiators to resolve issues before the court pronouncement today by Justice Ambrose Alagoa.