Appeal Court gives NFF election go-ahead



*FIFA, CAF officials in Benin for poll

The Appeal Court has given the Nigeria Football Federation the go-ahead to conduct its election in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Friday.

On Sept 15, a Federal High Court in Abuja stopped the NFF election from holding and adjourned further proceedings until October 31, following a suit filed by the Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria against the federation, over unequal representation of all the five statutory bodies making up the NFF, in terms of voting rights and representation on the NFF Board, its congress and sub-committees.

But a ruling by the Court of Appeal on Thursday morning ordered a stay-of-execution of the ex parte injunction secured by PFAN a fortnight ago to stop the elections, meaning that the coast is now clear for an interesting contest for the NFF presidency by 10 prominent football personalities – following the withdrawal of Amanze Uchegbulam – and dozen other notable persons jostling for seats on the Executive Committee.

Anthony Malik (SAN), Chairman of the NFF Electoral Committee 2022, told The PUNCH that the elective congress, which would usher in a new board to replace the outgoing one led by Amaju Pinnick, was all but set to hold.

Malik also confirmed that all the members Electoral Committee and the delegates from the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as FIFA and CAF representatives were already in Benin City for Friday’s election.

“Everybody is in Benin, the delegates from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, representatives from FIFA, CAF and NFF affiliate members like the referees union are in Benin for the NFF Congress.”

The NFF in a statement signed by its Media Director, Ademola Olajire, also said more representatives of world football body FIFA arrived in Benin City just before noon on Thursday.

Solomon Mudege, FIFA’s Head of Development Programmes for Africa and Gelson Fernandes, a former Swiss international, who is FIFA’s Director for Africa were in an excited mood.

Mudege said, “We are happy to be here and to witness another milestone in the history of Nigerian Football. We believe it is going to be an interesting Congress with the elections.”

Among the 10 persons jostling to succeed Amaju Pinnick as Nigeria football’s supremo are current vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Mallam Shehu Dikko, as well as current Executive Committee members, Ibrahim Musa Gusau and Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande.

There is also an immediate past NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu, and Head of Safety and Security of the Confederation of African Football, Dr. Christian Emeruwa.

Also in the hunt for the exalted post are Chairman, FCT FA, Mouktar Mohammed; former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Peterside Idah; former Chairman, Kano Pillars Abba Yola and the UK-based David-Buhari Doherty.