A factional president of the crisis-riddled Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Chris Giwa, has stated his intention to remain as the Federation’s president despite a FIFA letter asking him to step down.
Speaking to reporters in Abuja on Monday afternoon, the newly elected President asked for calm, stating that FIFA was not a biased body and would listen to his faction’s side of the story.
He also urged Nigerians to believe in his executive board.
“I want everyone to be calm. I want to tell them not to listen to those people that are trying to bring their personal interest into Nigerian football. We are going to have a new face of football in Nigeria and I’m sure in a few days’ time FIFA will speak. FIFA should be an organisation that is not biased, an organisation that will listen to everybody and the right decision would be taken so I have taken that this is the last hurdle by the grace of God. It has already been overcome,” he said.
On Friday evening, FIFA wrote a letter signed by its secretary general, Jerome Valcke, to the NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu, asking Mr. Giwa’s board to step down by midnight, September 1, else the Federation would be sanctioned.
However, it was later discovered that Mr. Valcke was on work leave around the time the letter was sent.
Speaking on the authenticity of the letter, Mr. Giwa said he did not care who signed the letter and that FIFA would definitely get its response in due course.
“One thing is I have no reason to doubt the letter. I want to believe it is from FIFA. We have received the letter that asked us to do something and of course, we are going to present our position,” he said.
Mr. Giwa also denied reports that the NFF scribe, Mr. Amadu, was not working with his board, after storming out of the congress that elected Mr. Giwa.
Mr. Amadu had told journalists outside the venue of the congress to count him out of the election, saying he had no part in it.
“It’s not true that Musa Amadu is not working with my board. I was privileged to talk to him last week and the only thing he said to me was that he was not feeling fine. I asked him why he has not been around in the office, and he said I should work with Bola Oyeyode (Head of International Competition) on whatever that has to do with his office,” Mr. Giwa said.
Reacting to the league matches boycott over the weekend, Mr. Giwa said he believed some people were playing politics based on personal interest.
The Nigeria Referees Association, NRA, had boycotted the matches citing the crisis in the NFF. This led to the suspension of the league games.
“Well, I think you will agree with me that this is politics. Some have personal interests and they have brought it into this matter and by the grace of God, we will overcome it,” Mr. Giwa said.
The NFF has been riddled with crisis since the end of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The crisis has given rise to two factions within the Federation, one led by the embattled erstwhile/reigning President, Aminu Maigari and the other by Chris Giwa.
Mr. Maigari was impeached soon after the World Cup. He was reinstated by a faction of the NFF at the urging of FIFA.
Mr. Giwa was elected at a congress held on August 26. His presidency still remains under contention as it has not been approved by FIFA.
The Maigari-led faction has already scheduled an election for September 4 in Abuja.
However, Mr Giwa has said there would not be any election as he would not allow anyone to mess with football statutes.
“No there will never be any election. We will not rest. We will not allow anybody to mess up with the NFF, CAF and FIFA statutes, no matter who the person think he is, where is it on earth that in less than one week. You can organise an election when we have a statute, giving us a mandatory period of time and we agreed there would be an election on the 26th of August. No, it will not happen,” he said.