Nigeria football crisis deepens as NFF holds parallel congresses

Aminu Maigari

The crisis in the Nigerian football administration worsened on Tuesday as two parallel congresses were held by leaders of the football federation, NFF.

The first congress, held at the Chida Hotel, Abuja and declared opened by Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Tamuno Danagogo, conducted an election of new officials of the NFF.

Chris Giwa, the chairman of Giwa Football Club, was elected new NFF president at the congress, thus confirming PREMIUM TIMES’ earlier report that he had the support of the minister to emerge new Nigeria football chief.

In his opening address, Mr. Danagogo accused Aminu Maigari, the embattled outgoing NFF President, of violating a gentleman agreement. Mr. Maigari is recognised by the world football governing body, FIFA, as the NFF President.

The minister, who a fortnight ago declared Mr. Maigari the authentic president of the NFF, said the latter promised on Sunday, at a private meeting, that he would not seek re-election into the board of the NFF.

“At a point, he (Mr. Maigari) agreed that for peace to reign at the football house, he would resign by the end of his tenure and will not re-contest the election,” the minister said. “That was the decision we took. I am disappointed that yesterday (Monday) that they signed a resolution dissolving the electoral committee and extending the tenure of the board.”

Mr. Maigari and his supporters on the board of the NFF had met on Monday to dissolve the federation’s electoral committee.

They also announced the postponement of the election of a new board.

However, a separate faction of the NFF board led by its Vice President, Mike Umeh, insisted that the congress and the election would hold on Tuesday as scheduled.

Mr. Umeh’s faction had always maintained that its July impeachment of Mr. Maigari as NFF President was still in place.

At the Tuesday congress, the Umeh faction not only elected Mr. Giwa as President, it also elected other board members.

These are: Obinnna Ogba – Vice president, Effiong Johnson – Chairman of Chairmen, Adama Yahaya – North Central, Sani Mohammed – North East, Adamu Farouk Yarma – North East,Muazu Suleiman – North West, Shariff Inuwa – North West, Felix Anyansi – South East, Felix Obuah – South South, Deji Tinubu – South West, and Otunba Sunday – South West.

However, hardly had the government-recognised congress ended, that a fresh crisis ensued.

Three of the members of the previous board – Felix Anyasi-Agwu, Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, and Muazu Suleiman – as well as Mr. Umeh distanced themselves from the new election; despite that Messrs Anyasi-Agwu and Suleiman were re-elected into the new board.

The four men told journalists at the congress that they never asked to be voted for and that the two elected were not accepting the positions.

Mr. Umeh, who had sought to be elected president, said what happened at the congress was ‘unbelievable’ and as someone who understands FIFA statutes, it was nothing but a sham.

Another prominent attendee at the congress, Musa Amadu, also angrily walked out.

“I cannot sit down there and watch them do this. They wanted to change the agenda of the AGA (Annual General Assembly) by doing the election immediately. The election is not in the agenda,” Mr. Amadu, who is the General Secretary of the NFF, said angrily before driving away from the congress venue.

Mr. Amadu, alongside Mr. Maigari, was earlier questioned by the State Security Service, SSS, for alleged mismanagement of funds.

While the federal government-recognised congress was ongoing, a separate one, by the Aminu Maigari- faction, was also holding.

Maigari’s congress

The Aminu Maigari-led faction held their congress along Shehu Shagari way in Maitama, Abuja.

The congress, held inside a packed bus, was attended by the chairmen of football associations, FA, of 26 states.

At the end of their deliberations, the congress produced a communiqué signed by each of the 26 FA chairmen.

In the communiqué, the congress chose September 4 as date for a fresh NFF election.

It said the election should be held at a General Assembly to be presided over by Mr. Maigari in Calabar, Cross River State.

The former electoral committee, led by Amoni Biambo, was officially dismissed by the congress and a new electoral committee approved.

The new electoral committee is to be chaired by SamsonEbomhe and Mr. Amadu as Secretary.

The committee has been authorized to start working immediately by taking custody of all election materials, reassess all previously cleared candidates, start the sale of nomination forms to all the interested candidates, screen all candidates and do all that is necessary in compliance with the NFF statutes.

The faction also approved a four-member Appeals Committee led by Okey Ajunwa, and Sanusi Mohammed as secretary

The congress said its resolutions have been faxed to FIFA.

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