In response to FIFA’s request to NFF to resolve the leadership tussle in the football governing body, the federal government has announced that the Amaju Pinnick led executive is the authentic leadership of the NFF.
This was disclosed in a tweet on Monday, minutes before the 12pm deadline given by FIFA by Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr Laolu Akande who said the government had notified FIFA of their decision.
The leadership tussle in the NFF had taken a major twist on July 2 when Mr Chris Giwa took control of the NFF secretariat after the Sports Minister, Mr Solomon Dalung, directed the football federation to comply with a Supreme Court ruling of April 27, 2018. In the ruling, the Supreme Court had restored the orders of the Federal High Court setting aside the election won by Pinnick.
Both Giwa and Pinnick have been engaged in a legal battle for the leadership of the NFF since 2014.
Giwa was declared the winner of an election which was held in Abuja on August 26 of that year, while Pinnick won a second poll that was conducted in Warri on September 30, 2014.
FIFA announced on July 13 that Pinnick is the recognised NFF president after Giwa took over control of the NFF Secretariat. The continued unresolved leadership tussle led FIFA to threaten to suspend Nigeria from it’s activities on August 14.
It said the country would be suspended on August 20 (today) if the NFF offices “are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under Amaju Pinnick, who was duly elected on September 30, 2014”.
“The NFF will be suspended with immediate effect for contravening art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19, as well as art. 14 par. 1 a) of the FIFA Statutes.”
If the country is suspended, FIFA said it would lift the sanction “only once the NFF, under Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices”.
It remains unclear if the decision of the Pinnick-led executive would finally bring the prolonged leadership crisis in Nigerian football to an end.