Chief Chris Giwa can continue to believe that he is the recognised President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), but the Federal Government, which includes the Federal High Court in Jos, that gave him the impetus, through an ex-parte order to make a claim, has declared that it is Amaju Pinnick it recognises.
In fact, the world football governing body, FIFA, has received a communication to that effect.
Presidenial spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, made the government position known in a tweet.
“The FG has already conveyed to FIFA its firm position recognising Amaju Pinnick-led NFF as the current and only NFF executive.
“Government will also continue to work with all relevant stakeholders involved to resolve the dispute in a timely manner.
“The Federal Government is upholding NFF treaty obligations to FIFA,” the tweet read.
Fears were expressed over the weekend over FIFA’s looming hammer by today’s end, because the body had given Nigeria until Monday to resolve the disagreement that made Giwa swoop in on the NFF headquarters in Abuja, relying on an ex-parte order from the court in Jos, Plateau State.
Giwa’s take-over, coming immediately after Nigeria’s ouster from the World Cup, and backed by the Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, made football pundits fear Nigeria was playing with fire.
Even when security operatives pushed out Giwa from the NFF building nearly a month ago, he still had Dalung’s backing.
Everyday.ng reports that just last Friday, the Federal High Court sitting in Jos failed to vacate the ex-parte order granted Giwa.
A last-ditch effort by Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, to meet FIFA in Switzerland to stave off a ban following an August 20, 2018 deadline to restore Amaju Pinnick as NFF President, was rebuffed by FIFA.
Replying to the letter seeking to meet FIFA leadership in Switzerland, the world football governing body wrote: “While we are aware of the seriousness and urgency of the matter, we regret to inform you that we are not in a position to respond favourably to your request for an appointment with the FIFA Leadership. In fact, the FIFA President is indisposed during the proposed period,” stated FIFA in their response.
“Moreover, we would Iike to recall that one member of the proposed delegation, Mr Chris Giwa, is currently under a worldwide ban, in accordance with the decision of the FIFA DiscipIinary Committee dated 10 January 2017 to extend the five—year ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity imposed by the Nigeria FootbaIl Federation’s (NFF) Disciplinary Committee on 12 May 2016…
“We would Iike to emphasise that we normally communicate with and through our member associations, in this case the NFF under its Iegitimate President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick.
“Consequently, we would be grateful to have any future correspondence be routed through the NFF directly,” added FIFA, to reiterate its displeasure that the Minister wrote through Nigeria’s ambassador to Switzerland.
The Federal High Court had granted the order on June 5, 2018, which gave Giwa the impetus to pose as the President of the NFF in the case betweenYahaya Adama/Obinna Ogba and Aminu Maigari/Musa Ahmadu and two others.
The order had followed a Supreme Court judgment asking the lower court to again look at the matter between Yahaya group and Maigari’s group for determination.
When the case came up on Friday, counsel to Pinnick, Mr Festus Ukpe, told the court that he had filed three motions on notice and was seeking the leave of court to move them.
He told the court that the motions sought to ask the court to vacate the ex-parte order earlier granted Giwa on June 5, 2018 so that Nigeria could escape a ban from football activities as threatened by FIFA.
But Giwa’s counsel, Mr Habila Ardzard, raised an objection to Pinnick’s motions, and notified the court of a pending appeal he filed before the Jos Court of Appeal in respect of the case.
He explained that the appeal was challenging the ruling of Justice Musa Kurya which allowed him serve a photocopy of the said motions on notice, instead of original copies.
Ardzard argued that any attempt by the judge to hear any of Pinnick’s motions would amount to `”abuse of court processes’’ and “judicial rascality.’’
“My Lord, this Honourable court has been informed of the said appeal before the Jos Court of Appeal, and by that. this court lacks the jurisdiction to continue with this matter pending the determination of the appeal.
“This is the position of the Supreme Court and that of the Appellate court: if the lower court will do otherwise, it will only be setting itself on collision course with the Appex and Appellate Courts.
“We hereby urge your lordship to adjourn the case pending the determination of the appeal by the appellate court,” he argued.
Kurya, in his ruling, said that there were two posers – whether there was an appeal, and whether he could continue with the matter.
In answering the two posers, the judge declared that he had resolved the two in favour of Giwa, and therefore decided to adjourn the case indefinitely.
“Since there is an appeal before the appellate court, I don’t want to be involved in any judicial rascally, therefore I hereby adjourn the case indefinitely,’’ he declared.