By James Anthony, The Sight News
The world football governing body, FIFA, has again reiterated that it only recognises the Amaju Pinnick-led board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
FIFA in a correspondence with NFF and CAF, said it will maintain dealings with the Pinnick-led NFF board despite a Supreme Court ruling which the Chris Giwa-led faction had interpreted as allowing them to take over the administration of football in Nigeria.
FIFA scribe, Fatma Samoura, in a reply to a mail dated, May 2 by Patrick Ikwueto,explained that at the outset, the Zurich-based organisation would like to stress that Mr Ikwueto’s clients (Chris Giwa faction), have already filed different appeals in relation to the elections of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) of 26 August 2014 at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It stated that the appeals were either terminated and removed from the CAS roll for procedural reasons or dismissed by the CAS in its arbitral award of 18 May 2015. FIFA said it therefore recognises the NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick which was duly elected on September 30, 2014.
FIFA added that it had taken note of the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria dated April 27 which ruled that the relevant matter is to be “remitted to the trial High Court for expeditious hearing and determination on the merit.”
In this respect, it reminds the applicant that recourse to ordinary court of law is prohibited as stated in article 59 paragraphs 2 and 3 of FIFA’s status.
Lastly, the letter revealed that the FIFA Disciplinary Committee decided that the January 10, 2017 five-year ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity imposed by the NFF’s disciplinary committee on May 12, 2016 against Christopher Giwa, Muazu Suleyman, Yahaya Adama, Sani Fema and Johnson Effiong should have worldwide effect. In conclusion, the letter stated:
“We kindly draw your attention to the fact that this information is only of a general nature and, therefore, without prejudice to any decision that FIFA may be called to pass in this or similar matters in future.”
The Giwa, Pinnick leadership tussle ranks high as one of the longest protracted cases in football in Nigeria.
Both Giwa and Pinnick were ‘elected’ in separate elections in 2014.
While Giwa emerged from an election on August 26, 2014, where he defeated former NFF VP, Mike Umeh,
Pinnick was elected a month later in another election spear-headed by the then outgoing Aminu Maigari-board in Warri.
Since then, many meetings have been done to bring the two warring parties to a roundtable discussion to have the issue thrashed out completely but all have met brick-wall with both sides raising accusing fingers and unable to reach a compromise.
Interestingly, Pinnick has already served out his term in office as fresh NFF election is due in few weeks time.