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The Nigerian Football Crisis – Solution In Sight!

The Nigerian Football Crisis – Solution In Sight!

This is the last time I will be commenting on the crisis in Nigerian football administration.

I am doing so here only because I have little to say about the match between the Super Eagles and Bafana Bafana last Wednesday night that should have attracted analysis and opinion
It was such a drab game that the match could have gone on for a whole year and neither side would have scored a goal! That’s how bad it was, watching two giants play like Lilliputians.

Just as Idah Peterside remarked on television after the match, it was a very poor advertisement for African football. I need not say more.

Back to Nigerian football crisis, thanks to FIFA ‘s intervention, some calm has returned to Nigerian football.

FIFA proved that they are not the ‘monster’ that most Nigerians think they are. Most do not understand how the organization works and have been reacting in ignorance.

No one should blame FIFA for all the several threats to Nigeria, rather we should blame the few Nigerians that take their internal problems to FIFA and draw attention to infraction of FIFA statues in order to achieve deliberate selfish interests!

The elements seem to have intervened by providing Nigeria another opportunity to turn the present crisis around and fix what has been creating problems for the country’s football administration every four years at election period.

Of course all the aggrieved persons belonging to different factions of the NFF are still around and must be contended with. Everyone must be willing to give up a little and take a little.

In resolving the crisis, FIFA’s directives were three.

The first is for Chris Giwa’s faction of the struggle to vacate the premises of the NFF secretariat.

The second is the return of the Secretary-General to his duty post.

The last is the invitation of the last Executive Committee to convene an extra-ordinary congress to design the road map for elections.

The first two directives have been carried out.

The third remains to be done. I wish to point out a few issues, as I understand them related to this. But first let me separate the facts from the fancies.

The Executive Committee of the NFF ended its tenure on August 26, 2014.

No one, nothing, can extend that tenure, not even the Congress of the NFF that does not have such powers in the statutes of the NFF.

The Executive Committee, in being allowed to return, according to FIFA’s directive, to convene an extra-ordinary general assembly, has one clear and simple responsibility – to convene the congress, period!

That singular act is the final uncompleted act of the last board that was ‘disrupted’ during the elective congress of August 26, 2014, when the presiding President, Aminu Maigari, and a few of his board members, were whisked away by State Security agents without completing his responsibility that day.

It is that disruption that has given rise to the opportunity for the Executive Committee to return and conduct their final act once again!

Beyond the day of the extra-ordinary congress that they will convene, they cannot continue to conduct any other activity of the NFF.

The electoral committee that will be set up on that day shall run its full course to Election Day. Its actions will be based strictly on the Statutes and electoral codes of the NFF given to it by the Executive Committee.

The NFF secretariat under the leadership of the Secretary-General shall continue to run the affairs of the Federation until the day of the elective congress!

Should any crisis or confusion arise from a misinterpretation of this understanding, FIFA will be forced to set up a normalization committee to oversee the affairs of the federation until election time.

Convening the extraordinary general assembly and fixing a legally acceptable election time-table does not elongate the tenure of the Executive Committee, nor do they empower the board to do anything other than convene the congress!

An extra-ordinary general assembly is only convened in the time of an emergency to address a specific issue that brought about the emergency. In this case, the election process, which must, therefore, be dealt with by designing a road map in strict compliance to the NFF statutes according to FIFA’s directive.

The statutes must guide the electoral committee through the maze of the election road map!

What this means is that the extra-ordinary general assembly cannot discus elongation of any board’s tenure, or take any decisions outside of the road map!

With this understanding, therefore, the general assembly will put in place an electoral committee (old or new) that will now conduct its work in accordance with the Statutes and the electoral code, and establish new guidelines that will lead to the elections.

The elective Congress to elect the next Executive Committee must itself be legitimate.

It shall comprise the chairmen and secretaries of all the associations affiliated to the NFF. They must all come with evidence of mandates from their body. These mandates are that their tenure as chairmen has either not expired or have been renewed through new elections.

Fortunately, like the NFF itself, its members have 4 year-tenures.

I recall for the elective congress of August 26, 2010 the NFF statutes were deliberately altered, before the crisis started, directing that elections into the boards of all affiliate associations would come after the election into the Executive Committee. This was a tactical ploy to use old members of general assembly that had all been compromised by the then leadership with the gift of attending the 2010 World Cup, to elect the president for another term.

Some people immediately raised the issue with FIFA, insisting such a directive to State FA’s is an interference by the NFF in the internal affairs of its members contrary to the FIFA statutes.

The faulty directive was hurriedly expunged from the new statutes, but the directives were not reversed. Elections into State FA’s and other bodies of the NFF, therefore, took place after the elective Congress had brought in Aminu Maigari. So, it was the same set of persons that brought in Sani Lulu in 2006, that voted again to bring in Aminu Maigari in 2010 with expired tenures, illegally and cleverly elongated!

Some States up till now have not actually conducted any elections in 8 years. The last State to conduct its own election in the present assembly  was Lagos State in January of 2011! The last State before Lagos was Ogun State in November 2010. Many others conducted theirs in September 2010.

What this means is that by September and October 2014 the tenure of the boards of most of the State Football Associations must be over!

According to the electoral code of the NFF, the shortest possible time line for the elections into the Executive Committee, is between 60 and 90 days! According to the statutes it is actually 6 months from the day the electoral committee is put in place.

If the electoral code is to be followed, the elections cannot take place any time before the end of November, at the least.

What this means is that all the present boards of the State FA’s and any other bodies whose tenures would have ended by then must bring evidence of a fresh mandate by their association to be a part of the elective congress to elect a new board!

In short, all bodies affiliated to the NFF must conduct their own elections before their chairmen can become members of the elective congress and participate in the next elections.

This means all elections into the Local Government Football councils, and the State Football Associations must take place before the NFF Executive Committee election.

Therefore everyone must go back to the grassroots and start the process of securing a mandate to participate in the next national elections.

There is a conspiracy of the elements in the unfolding scenario. This singular act will cleanse up Nigerian football. It will throw up a level playing field and test the popularity of football stakeholders jostling for positions in Nigerian football.

A new board from a new congress – the implications (positive) are enormous, starting with an untainted and uncompromised electorate. It will present the room and possibility for genuine elections based on merit.

Any individual within the football family, desirous of contesting for a position on the board can do so but must also be willing to submit to the screening by security and conduct agencies. But only elected members of affiliated bodies can vote!

Finally, in determining the membership of the electoral committee the rules must also be strictly followed. An article in the electoral code specifically states that members of the committee must be bona fide members of the federation. This means clearly that only a person registered as a member of one of the affiliate bodies of the NFF can be appointed as a member of the electoral committee. The idea of just picking lawyers and persons from outside the registered bodies of the NFF will not work this time.

I rest my case on this matter!

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