By Amaechi Agbo
The minister of Youth and Sports and embattled president of Nigeria Football federation, NFF, Ambassador Chris Giwa have opposed the federal government’s recognition of Amaju Pinnick as president of the NFF.
In separate press releases, the minister insisted that despite federal government’s pronouncement on the leadership impasse, he still hold unto rule of law adding that Nigeria is a Democratic country that operates based on the rule of law and separation of powers.
Dalung who disclosed this in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on media, Nneka Anibeze, said that the pronouncement provided a temporary relief as the matter is still in court.
The Minister congratulated the Federal Government for averting a FIFA ban on Nigeria Football Federation on Monday.
“I welcome the intervention of the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, which saved Nigeria from a suspension threat by FIFA in the lingering crisis of the football federation.
”I believe in the resolution of the crisis which has a history dating back to almost 20 years since the removal of Mr Anthony Kojo Williams from office.
“This crisis cannot be solved with a temporary measure or scratched on the surface. The intervention of the vice-president should not be viewed as different from an attempt to abate an escalating situation,” Dalung said.
“As a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, who took oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will prefer to stand with the rule of law instead of the opinion of men.
”I want to appeal to Nigerians to remain calm and give support to the NFF Elders Stakeholders Reconciliation Committee which is made up of reputable past presidents and general secretaries of the NFF with vast knowledge, experience and competence to resolve this crisis once and for all.
”We are a constitutional democracy and the doctrine of separation of powers is the foundation of democratic experience, therefore, the rule of law is the only mechanism that guarantees liberty and freedom of citizens.
“I believe we shall overcome this if we remain within the confines and dictates of the laws of our country,” the minister concluded.
On his part, the counsel to Ambassador Chris Giwa-led board, Barrister Habila Ardzard has warned corporate Nigeria entities and individuals to stay away from Amaju Pinnick led board purportedly elected on September 30, 2014.
Ardzard noted that despite the perceived recognition given to Amaju Pinnick by the Federal Government in order to avert a FIFA ban, the board purportedly led by Pinnick was not known to Nigerian law.
“In the eyes of the law, Amaju Pinnick does not exist as President of Nigeria Football Federation because the Federal High Court nullified his election, which the Supreme Court confirmed,” Ardzard stated.
“The orders of a court cannot be wished away by fiat because the tenets of democracy are seriously anchored on the rule of law, and we cannot be professing rule of law by mere pronouncements”
“It is in the light of this, that I warn anybody doing business with Amaju Pinnick to be wary because you may be entering into illegal business.
“Amaju Pinnick and his illegal board are in contempt of court and the process has already commenced for them to face the full weight of the law”
“The Court orders are there, whether they accept it or not, but at the appropriate time, those who will end up in jail will do, while those cheering them now, will watch from a distance,” Ardzard noted.
FIFA on Monday stepped down its plan to ban Nigeria’s football governing body over its leadership crisis.
In stepping down the threat, FIFA said it received assurances that the legitimate leadership of Nigeria Football Federation under the presidency of Amaju Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi had been restored to office.
The federal government had on August 20 through a tweet from the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, Laolu Akande said it had written to FIFA recognizing Amaju Pinnick as the President of the NFF.