With Adebayo Olodan
Except common sense is allowed to prevail, Nigeria risks being banned by the world football governing body, FIFA.
According to reports, the Bureau of the FIFA Council will next Monday suspend Nigeria from any football related activities if the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) offices are not handed back to the legitimate President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who was duly elected on 30th September, 2014.
Though Nigerians can survive several hardships including economic meltdown, high rate of unemployment and inadequate infrastructure, however one setback that will be difficult to comprehend is another FIFA ban. Suspending our national teams and domestic clubs from participating in any FIFA and CAF competitions will be suicidal for millions of passionate soccer fans in Nigeria.
To prevent another mishap happening to our football, Amb. Chris Giwa must toe the path of honour by staying away from the NFF offices. Also, he and his team must henceforth stop parading themselves as NFF executives. FIFA has given Nigeria until Sunday to do the needful by returning Pinnick as the rightful NFF President or face suspension. The world football governing body made it clear that any attempt to deny Pinnick and Mohammed Sanust their return as President and General Secretary of the NFF will be rebuffed.
With FIFA clear on their position, l expect the Minister of Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung to broker a peace meeting between both parties; Pinnick and Giwa. More importantly, Giwa must be removed from office and his counterpart allowed to return whether by hook or crook.
Giwa in recent months have forcefully taken over the NFF leadership each time Pinnick and members of his executive are away from the country on international assignments. In June while Pinnick and his team were in Russia for the 2018 World Cup, Giwa, through alleged support of the Minister of Sports ‘installed’ himself as NFF President. He repeated same act last Monday while his rival was in France with the female National U-20 team.
Should Giwa be so desperate to become NFF President, he should rather wait for three months when another election will be conducted.