Sports minister Dalung and Giwa are playing with FIFA's Fire

By Daily Sports on July 3, 2018

Views: 412

The news has come as an unwanted irritation. When Nigerians are still licking the wounds of a painful ouster from the Russia 2018 World Cup and millions are mourning the unavoidable loss of many lives in Plateau state and Lagos following the herdsmen and farmers crisis and the unfortunate accident in the southwest, there's the story of the 'sack' order against the current Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick. 
Since Pinnick controversially won the election that placed him at the helm of the NFF in 2014, one of the interested parties in that position, Chris Giwa, has relentlessly sought to upturn that result in favor of an earlier election in August 2014 which saw him, also in controversial circumstances, emerge as winner and which failed to get the backing of world football governing body FIFA. 
Till this day, both parties have been at loggerheads, with physical and legal skirmishes occurring from time to time. 
The latest episode has seen Nigeria's Sports Minister Solomon Dalung dancing to the tune of a Supreme Court judgement that favors Giwa taking over as NFF head. 
Dalung directed Pinnick to obey the Supreme Court's verdict but, quite expectedly, Pinnick is clinging on to an ace he holds which has ensured he weathered the storm that threatened his position as the head of football running in Nigeria in the past. 
With FIFA having severally dismissed Giwa as a persona non grata and the Court of Arbitration having sided with FIFA in banning Giwa from all international football activities that have to do with FIFA, the battle lines remain clearly drawn. 
It's a battle between Nigerian law and FIFA's and CAS's laws. 
Giwa has the backing of the nation's law system (via the support from the Supreme Court) but it's hard to see how he can reign as NFF boss without FIFA's stamp of approval. 
Any true victory for Giwa over Pinnick must have to come via FIFA and CAS's channels because no national FA can stand in isolation independently of FIFA. 
The Sports Minister surely has to be smart enough to know this. His job includes understanding the boundaries of Nigeria's law as regards its standing with FIFA statutes that Nigeria is also bound by as part of the world's football community. 
He should be advising both parties as well as the Nigerian government about the implications of any rulings that may not sit well with FIFA and CAS and which may affect the nation's standing as a member of the football body. 
It's not a matter of sentiments or supporting one side of the dispute, but it's about seeing the overall picture of a given situation. 
Giwa has crowed that “ I am here to claim my mandate as the substantive chairman elected on August 26, 2014." but if FIFA reaffirms its earlier position, then Nigeria's football is heading for doom, no matter how Giwa paints a patriotic and law-abiding face before his countrymen. 
Without participating in FIFA's competitions, including the upcoming under-17 African nations cup qualifiers for which a group of hopeful young kids gave been camping and preparing for for months, the upcoming women's under 21 nations Cup and the men's under 21 nations cup, as well as the senior men's African nations Cup qualifiers that are set to resume n a few months, what would a Giwa led NFF be in office for?
Yet, there's a better strategy of unseating Pinnick for Giwa and his sympathisers, and that is to do so through the ballot box, with the NFF elections coming up soon. 
Any other attempt is playing with the tail of a rattle snake and Giwa must know this. 
The headlines of most Nigerian papers are not emphasizing this surprisingly, as there seems a rush to call what amounts to an illegal coup in the eyes of FIFA a definitive victory for Giwa.
Headlines like 'Giwa dethrones Pinnick', 'Giwa resumes as NFF president' and 'Giwa takes over NFF' fail to capture what amounts to nothing more than a stubborn charade without the backing of FIFA who could and would simply say 'Nigeria take your laws and leave our competitions'. 

Source Daily Sports

Posted July 3, 2018

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