The intrigues-laden Anambra State FA election on Tuesday, May 3rd 2016 that brought out Chief Ifeanyi Ubah as the chairman of the State Football Association, has degenerated into accusations and counter accusations between the E. C. Chukwuemeka led Normalization Committee and an opposition candidate, Chief Olisah Aniunoh.
Chief Olisa Aniunoh – the man that was supposed to stand in the election against Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, but was not present, opens up on what he believes was a flawed exercise and a travesty. Chief Aniunoh, who was known as Olis Warren during his active days as a footballer fielded questions from CHIGOZIE CHUKWULETA, in Awka, on Tuesday May 3, 2016 , the day of that Anambra FA Election which he strongly disputes.
You were absent at the Anambra FA election, what happened?
(smiles)Which election? I'm not aware of FA election because the date given by the Normalization Committee for the election was Wednesday, 4th, May and not otherwise. According to them, screening would take place on Monday and they will paste the list of the candidates that passed through the screening on Tuesday. These are not something that they are making up. These are actual facts that are verifiable and the press has the tapes and I am quite sure that the tapes are going to be played in different channels where the Electoral Committee set out the guidelines, the agenda and the timetable for the election.
I went to the screening, passed the screening ,they sent me a text telling me that the screening was successful and I am eligible to contest, that the election will take place on May 4th. Lo and behold ,I received a call about 9.0 clock that the election is going on today (Tuesday, May 3 2016). I thought it was a prank call and when I investigated it, I found out that what they did was to go to an hotel and then decided the election will go on with proxy delegates, and all kinds of people there saying that they were voting and that was exactly what happened, and to me, it was a travesty and really the destruction of Anambra football because things are supposed to be done in a transparent manner.
If the election was conducted , as a contestant, I should be able to stand and contest and whoever win should go ahead. You have a candidate that, let say is contesting for the chairmanship election and is under a ten match-ban, is suspended from all sporting activities – anything pertaining to football in this country. So, how can he be qualified to even run for this particular election? My own thing is what is the fear and why were they rushing to do a secret election, secret ballot that nobody knows about?
I think some members of the press were there because they called them to the place. Lo and behold, and they watched what was like a comic relief. To me it's laughable. There was no election in Anambra State into the FA and we are hoping that very soon, proper election would be conducted. What happened was just sheer foolishness on the part of the so-called Electoral Committee.
Talking about the alleged election, what does it portend for Anambra football?
What it portends is total destruction of Anambra football because we had hoped that there will be a credible FA in Anambra, but what we found out was what happened this morning (Tuesday, May 3 2016). So I just don’t understand why people will want to visit such calamity on a state like Anambra State that should be the home of football. What they have done is to continue to put Anambra in the dark in terms of football, because as we speak, I don’t think that we would have any FA until the tenure runs out. We have already lost two years, so it's remaining two years. For the next two years, I don’t think that there will be any credible election that will be conducted in this state. My heart goes out to the young people that have the challenge to play the game of football in this state and it is sad, what they have done to this thing and we will continue to look at them.
To you, this is not acceptable. What measures are you going to apply to see that things are done right?
All I'm saying is that, first of all, you cannot support an illegality. So far as I am concerned, no election took place. So am waiting for their official announcement of the so-called election that they did and when they put it up on their website. And as a candidate, they should give me the result sheet of the election that took place and the committee should officially come out with their communiqué that they had an election. When they do that first.
Right now, I will say that no election took place. So, I don’t know what I am challenging or what I am contesting because I was not there nor notified of an election. So what am I petitioning or challenging? I am just like you, I am hearing the news that an election, that I am a candidate in, took place this this morning (Tuesday, May 3 2016) when it was supposed to take place tomorrow (Wednesday May 4 2016). I am just waiting just like yourself for NFF and the committee to come out with the official announcement.
Do you know where the election was held?
Wherever, they said that the election took place today (Tuesday, May 3rd 2016) instead of Wednesday May 4th 2016 as it was announced and even put up on the NFF website. The so-called secretary of the Committee, Onoja, that calls himself a barrister – which I don’t believe because barristers are learned gentlemen and he is not a gentleman. Gentlemen don’t behave in such a way. On the internet, he stated that the election would take place on May 4th. So how can you now go and conduct a Kangaroo election or meeting and turned it into an election. It was supposed to be a press briefing to tell the press that, tomorrow (Wednesday May 4 2016 ), there is going to be an election. What I anticipated was that they would announce the names of the candidates that scaled through their screening which was what they were supposed to do today (Tuesday, May 3rd 2016 ) , and which was what the chairman of the committee promised to do. Lo and behold, he turned the press briefing into an election and you gentlemen of the press that were there witnessed what happened.
There were enough witnesses, footage, documents to prosecute this matter to its logical conclusion. So we are just waiting for them to make an official decision or statement. Once the statement is made, then we will now know that something happened.
As far as I am concerned, I don’t know where the election happened. I wasn’t there or notified. If they said they notified me, they should bring proof that they did. I wasn’t notified, at least I am contesting, let me go to the election and lose at the election venue. But if you don’t notify me, then how can I certify that the election took place?
We are waiting for them to make their official statement, but I can tell you that this illegality will not stand. If you go to the internet and watch the news, you will see the continued perpetuation and breakdown of football in this country perpetrated from the highest ranking of NFF. They know what they are doing and what they have done. But it’s sad that they will use Anambra State as a guinea pig in accomplishing their foolishness.