by Ubong Nduonofit
The Federal High Court, Jos gave a ruling nullifying the FIFA-endorsed elections of 30 September, into the NFF Executive Committee, a move that did not sit well with the world football governing body.
It would be recalled that FIFA President Blatter and CAF President Hayatou, had congratulated Amaju Pinnick following his victory at the September 30 elections.
On Friday, NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, was stopped by security operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on his way to Namibia.
President of the Confederation of African Football, Issa Hayatou released a statement to this effect, saying, “I had to plead passionately with FIFA President, Mr. Sepp Blatter not to take action on Nigeria on Friday, because Nigeria was in the final of the African Women Championship and a ban on your country would have been bad for the competition and our sponsors. We all heard the news of the court ruling on Thursday, and the football world is angry with Nigeria. That is the truth.”
“The FIFA letter that came to your Federation before the elections of September 30 was very clear about an automatic suspension should there be any interference with the political process, and after the elections went ahead, we all thought you had settled your issues.”
Hayatou was speaking to journalists in a meeting that had in attendance, Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Ambassador Biodun Olorunfemi, Nigeria’s Deputy President of the CAF Appeal Board, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam, CAF General Coordinator, Mr. Paul Bassey and CAF Media Committee Member, Aisha Falode.
Hayatou added that there would be no going back on suspension of Nigeria this week, if football matters are not withdrawn from civil courts.
“I appealed to FIFA to give until Monday for Nigeria to put its act together. After that, there is absolutely nothing I can do. It is all very disappointing because we have over 50 National Associations in Africa, but a big country like Nigeria is the one always giving us the biggest headache.”
“Nigeria signed to be part of the football world by joining FIFA, and opted to abide by the FIFA –approved Statutes that you have. How many times do we have to tell your country that football matters are not taken to civil courts? If Nigeria no longer wants to be part of the football world, then so be it,” said a visibly exasperated Hayatou.
Meanwhile, the NFF Executive Committee, led by Amaju Pinnick, has filed for a Stay-of-Execution of the order at the same court, which the court said it will be hear on Wednesday
Should Nigeria get a suspension they will have too wait until their 65th Congress on May 29, 2015 as FIFA will not revisit the matter anytime soon.