Maigari insists on returning despite resigning.
There were dramatic scenes at the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, on Monday in Abuja as two men struggled for the leadership position of the body.
Mr. Maigari, who was impeached by two-third majority of the NFA board, had returned to office on Monday following a directive by the Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo.
Mr. Danagogo was acting on a letter from FIFA instructing that the Football House maintained the status quo that prevailed before Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Mr. Maigari had, on that basis, decided to return to office on Monday and was escorted by a combined team of policemen and officers of the Directorate of State Services, DSS.
But Mike Umeh, the association’s First Vice-Chairman who emerged as Acting Chairman after Mr. Maigari’s purported impeachment, insisted that Mr. Maigari could not return as he had resigned after his impeachment.
Mr. Umeh, therefore, came to the NFA office earlier to take position, while Mr. Maigari emerged later to take over the seat in the Chairman’s office.
When journalists were allowed in, Mr. Umeh was seen treating files in the same office but using the chairman’s conference table.
Speaking later to journalists, Mr. Maigari said he was returning to office to complete his task of developing the country’s football.
“If I resigned, I won’t be here. Somebody should resign when he is facing an opposition. So, if I am out of office, that does not mean I have resigned. What is in my mind now is football development in Nigeria. This is what has brought all of us together, including you the media. In life, you don’t expect everything to be smooth and there can be mistakes and turbulence. But it is part of life, in as much as one is alive. But it depends on how one manages it. As for why I am here with security men, I have come with this number of securitymen because we need to be secured in this country. So, you need security. I need security too. They are protecting you and I here,” Mr. Maigari said.
He however said all the decisions taken by the NFA Board in his absence would stand, as football development was a collective responsibility.
“Umeh is my First Vice-Chairman. He is my friend and colleague, just like every other Board member. Whether we are in office or not, we still remain one family. Football is a team work. It is beyond one person or group of persons. You have to team up and work together to achieve results,” Mr. Maigari said.
Mr. Umeh had earlier told journalists that Mr. Maigari was acting on his own, as he, Mr. Umeh, remained the Acting Chairman of NFA.
“By the decision we, the NFA Board members, have taken, majority of the board members have said that Maigari has been provisionally impeached pending confirmation of the Congress. So, I am expecting our members to come so that we can articulate the way forward. We know there is a letter from FIFA which we are going to look at and give a reply to. Maigari can come. It is up to him. A tree cannot make a forest, because I don’t know how he can take decisions without his Board members.There must be a quorum for any decision to be taken,” Mr. Umeh had said.
Mr. Umeh said there was no interference by government in the country’s football management, adding that Mr. Maigari was removed without any advice from anybody.
“When he was taken to court, he said he was wrongly charged, and that FIFA family members don’t go to ordinary courts. So, we stepped in and did the needful. This is what we did to Sani Lulu and Ibrahim Galadima (both former NFA board chairmen). So, his own cannot be an exception. We are not enemies. We are only trying to defend an institution. If he is here because the minister told him, that means it is indirect interference. The minister is not the one who told us to impeach him. We did that based on our statutes,” Mr. Umeh said.
He however said Mr. Maigari had earlier asked to be given a soft-landing, which necessitated the submission of his resignation letter dated August 12.
Mr. Umeh also said the NFA Board under his leadership would meet on Tuesday to respond to FIFA’s letter which directed it to maintain the pre-Brazil 2014 World Cup status quo.