29th October, 2014
The Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Dr Tammy Danagogo has ordered quick and unambiguous resolution of the crisis threatening to tear the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, apart, and has directed feuding parties to sheathe their swords in the interest of peace.
Danagogo, at a meeting with top officials of the federation and the faction led by Ambassador Chris Giwa, specifically charged that the court case by the Giwa’s faction be withdrawn to save Nigeria from impending FIFA hammer. He also confirmed holding a meeting with President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Alhaji (Dr) Issa Hayatou in Windhoek on Saturday, where the CAF supremo told him in no uncertain terms that FIFA and CAF have had it up to their necks with Nigeria.
“Dr. Hayatou told me Nigeria could actually have been stopped from playing the final of the African Women Championship in Namibia on Saturday, but he had to plead with FIFA to stop its Emergency Committee from taking immediate action. He also explained that such an occurrence would have handed the trophy automatically to Cameroon, and people would have thought that being a Cameroonian, he instigated such to favour his country.
“The CAF President was really unhappy with us. He brought out documents which constitute the protocols that every country wishing to be in the international football family had to sign, and which Nigeria signed. Part of these is the fact that disputes in football have to be taken to arbitration, and not civil courts.”
Restating that national interest and the interest of football should be paramount in the minds of those battling for the soul of the Nigeria game, Danagogo directed that the court case should be withdrawn and that both NFF President Amaju Pinnick and Ambassador Giwa should sit down like brothers and discuss firmly on ways to bring to an end the imbroglio.
“I am not interested in who is the NFF President. I am concerned with the interest of our country and the fact that football is such a serious matter for us and a ban from international football would be a disaster.
“I can assure you all that the Federal Government will not take kindly to any individual or group that contribute to an unfortunate situation of Nigeria getting banned from international football.”
Among those present at the meeting were NFF President Amaju Pinnick, Ambassador Giwa, NSC directors Dr. Bolaji Ojo-Oba and Dr. Abdulkadir Muazu, NFF Executive Committee member, High Chief Emeka Inyama, General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu, Mr. Adama Yahaya, Mr. Sani Fema and Chief Rumson Baribote.
The Sports Minister has ordered the parties involved to reconvene at his office on Wednesday afternoon to report back on their resolutions.