The word the back door was resonating in my mind in the past few days. I kept wondering where that was coming from. One does not need much search to note the back door some people may want to employ to get into the NFF board. There had been information that the Ibrahim Galadima-led reconciliatory or advisory committee set up by the Games-master General of the Federation, Comrade Solomon Dalung may have meet a brick wall at the expiration of its week-long mandate.
It is not clear whether Chris Giwa and his men eventually appear before the Galadima committee. But it was speculated the group wants four positions in the NFF executive committee to be unconditionally given to it. Absurdly, one of such positions is that of 1st Vice President. If such concession was granted, the likely beneficiary is very obvious.
Chris Giwa will take over the place of Seyi Akinwunmi. Who will expect the barrister to consent to that without a titanic legal fight?
Apart from the scenario of robbing Peter to pay Paul, we will now be having two obviously opposed personalities a steering a ship that is overtly struggling in turbulent waters. How do we hope to get stabilised. The outcome of a political solution to the current scenario can only left for imagination.
Good enough, a contentious resolution at the December congress of the NFF has been put on hold till the next extra ordinary annual congress where it will be expunged. Without trying to be a soothsayer, I remarked last December that the item 12 in the communiqué issued at last December was a potential time bomb.
The resolution narrowed membership of the NFF executive committee, including the position of the president to a group of 88 – comprising just the congress and anyone who had been a member before.
No doubt this might have ignited the Giwa group to exhume and re-enlist a presumably ‘dead’ case. With the dropping of that contentious resolution of the last congress, one should believe that the problem has been solved.
Chris Giwa can wait till August 2018, when the tenure of the current board lapses, to test his popularity. Certainly, heating the polity now will not help him at that point in time.
A related issue is the Giwa versus Rangers’ controversial league match. It is a time bomb fast ticking. Giwa FC, most probably at the instance of the club owner, Chris Giwa, refused the continuation of its home match which was rescheduled at Abuja.
In the first instance, since the disruption of the original match was at the instance of the home team which was losing, the match ought to have been awarded outright to Rangers.
Worse still, Giwa FC which refused the verdict is yet to appeal. It yesterday boycotted its scheduled home match against Wikki Tourists in Ilorin. With possible infringement on Article 13.28 of the NPFL Framework and Rules, Giwa FC may be expelled if it misses the next two matches.
The trouble-free LMC may now be infested with trouble bugs. It is doubtful if the imposed fines would be paid. Giwa FC owner will no doubt allege persecution by the current football administrators. The result is the likelihood of the league being put into disrepute which will then result in search for political solution for a game that is governed by rules and regulations.
Recall that a former sports minister, Isa Ibrahim Bio, attempted this when he ruled against relegation of any team and instead proposed an expansion of the Premier League to 24 teams.
The interference caused a FIFA ban on October 4, 2010.
Giwa FC’s boycott of fixtures is akin to that of Super Stores in 1993 which the once glamorous club paid dearly for. Therefore, there had been precedents. No political solution should be attempted.
We don’t need to move in cycles. If Chris Giwa cannot abide by the rules that govern the league, how then will he expect other stakeholders to obey the rules if he were at the helms?
From one back door to the other
Still on entering through the back door, the Super Eagles may be a beneficiary of getting to a competition through unorthodox means. Don’t laugh scornfully at this. Nigeria may be the ultimate beneficiary of the unfolding drama in Egypt.
As a recap, Egypt is currently experiencing their own version of ‘football-matters-in court’ saga and the attendant court sacking football administrator. Of course this is a familiar incident in Nigeria when Jos is always the venue to go to for football drama.
Just before the return fixture of Egypt – Nigeria duel, the Egyptian version of our Supreme Court dissolved the executive board of the FA over alleged rigging of 2012 elections. It led to Hermas Radwan who is the president of division II side, Bani Ebeid, filing a law suit challenging the outcome of the election. The verdict was final and cannot be appealed.
Football administrators in Egypt, according to Al Bawaba, a news, blogging and media website headquartered in Amman, Jordan, initially refused to disclose the dissolution to FIFA to avert possible sanctions.
But FIFA last week officially warned of repercussions should the Egyptian court ruling be implemented. Should Egypt implement the ruling, the country will be suspended and it means two teams in the 2017 African Nations Cup Group G have been withdrawn, thus returning Nigeria into the qualifying scheme.
It will then mean that the group will be decided by the Nigeria-Tanzania match in September. Nigeria had previously benefitted from a similar scenario at the football event of Moscow ’80 Olympics even without featuring in the qualifying series.
Administrative chaos ensured Nigeria forgot to send in entries. But owing to US-instigated boycott of the Olympics which Ghana and Egypt heeded, Nigeria was invited to replace Ghana while Zambia got similar surprise package at the expense of Egypt.
At the European Nations Championship, Euro ’92, Denmark, the eventual winners, entered through the back door after initial qualifier, Yugoslavia, was disqualified as a result of break-up and warfare.
Also in 2001, Guinea was disqualified on the day of the final of the African U-17 tournament which was postponed by a day because of government’s interference in the affairs of the FA, Burkina Faso replaced Guinea in the final.
There are many of such instances. As is stated in Exodus 9:12 in the Bible, may God hardens the heart of the Pharaohs. We wait till Sunday when the Egyptians are expected to take a definitive decision.