CHAIRMAN of the Abuja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja, Barrister Abimbola Kayode has told stakeholders from the Rufus Giwa led faction of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) that the Federal Government’s recognition of Amaju Pinnick as President of NFF was to save Nigeria from FIFA’s wrath.
Victor Baribote, proprietor of Nembe City FC; Harrison Jala, President Nigeria Professional Football Association, and Barrister Faye Jacob, legal adviser of Nembe City FC, had at the weekend visited the Wuse Zone 6, office of the Unity Bar to felicitate with Kayode on his emergence as the chairman of the Abuja branch of NBA.
Baribote said the visit was to lodge complaints against the position taken by acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo as he then was, in recognising the Amaju Pinnick led board of NFF.
Baribote, a board member in Giwa’s faction of NFF wondered why Osinbajo and others who had sworn to pay allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and protect the Constitution, would now do otherwise.
“Now they have thrown our sovereignty to the dustbin by saying that the laws of Switzerland are now superior to Nigerian laws” Baribote stated.
He told the Unity Bar lend its voice because the VP’s letter to FIFA was against the enforcement of an order of a Federal High Court, which had directed that Giwa should be in office.
But Kayode, who declined to speak on behalf of the national body, rather aired his personal views on the protracted crisis and issues raised by Baribote concerning the position taken by Osinbajo in recognizing the Pinnick led board of NFF.
He told the delegation that Nigeria would have been suspended by FIFA if not for the letter of the acting President to the world football governing body recognising Pinnick as NFF President.
“If you ask me, and speaking for myself, I agree that the then acting President was right in his decision. We all know that as at the day the presidency communicated to Switzerland, there was no option left for FIFA to suspend Nigeria from all football activities.
Contrary to the reasoning of the Giwa’s faction that Nigeria’s constitution is sacrosanct and therefore must be obeyed without sentiments, Kayode insisted that the position taken by acting President Osinbajo as he then was, saved the country from imminent FIFA suspension.
“He (Osinbajo) did not set aside the order of the Supreme Court as you are inferring; what the then acting President did, was to ensure that Nigeria is not taken out of football circle because competitions are going on” Kayode argued.
The protracted leadership crisis rocking the NFF got to a peak following FIFA’s threat to suspend Nigeria over government interference in football activities.
In a bid to avert FIFA’s hammer, the acting President, last week conveyed FG’s position to the world football governing body, assuring that the Federal Government would continue to work with stakeholders to resolve the federation’s dispute in due time.
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