Fresh NFF crisis bad for football, journalists tell minister, stakeholders

Sports Minister/Chairman of the NSC, Solomon Dalung

Sports Minister/Chairman of the NSC, Solomon Dalung

JOURNALISTS in Lagos have warned Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, and other stakeholders in Nigerian football to avoid anything that could bring fresh crisis to the administration of the game.

In a statement made available to The Guardian, the journalists described as bad signals recent statements credited to followers of a former contestant for the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) presidency, Chris Giwa, and purportedly coming from the office of the Sports Minister, both seeking the dissolution of the current NFF board and the reinstatement of a Chris Giwa board.

Signed by Fred Edoreh, the statement reads: “We note with curiosity recent statements credited first to members of the Chris Giwa-mandate group threatening to upturn the management structure of the Nigerian Professional Football League and sack the League Management Company, and also to return to take over the NFF in the new year.

Equally alarming was another press release falsely credited to the office of the Honourable Minister of Sports, which allegedly directed the NFF to honour the purported mandate of Chris Giwa.
“We are indeed relieved that the office of the Honourable Minister,through the Special Adviser on Media, has refuted the statement and dissociated the minister from its issue.

However, knowing that there can be no smoke without fire, the public and corporate partners of Nigerian football have been left with the fear that something sinister,
which could breed another regime of destabilization, may be cooking. It should suffice to say that a house destroyed can only be inherited by the wind and where wind is sown the harvest can only be whirlwind,which do not support development and progress. §

In the first place, it is unacceptable that the office of the Honourable Minister can be credited with a statement, which it did not
authorise and, worse, by unauthorized persons. It is not enough for the minister to refute the statement but must get to the root of this impersonation and possibly sanction the perpetrators. This is necessary to establish confidence and disabuse the mind of the public about any tendency for nepotism as is being imagined in some quarters.

Secondly, even in the rebuttal, we find it curious for the minister to establish that there is a “lingering crisis in the NFF” and that he has received “presentations” from the “warring factions” until “this issue is resolved.
“Without doubt, those phrases indicate a re-wakening of a dead and
buried matter, the reasons for which we find hard to fathom.”

The journalists appealed that
“in as much as all men are free to pursue their personal and group ambitions, it must be within the limits of law and convention, and the statutes, consensus and endorsement of relevant institutions guiding national and international association football but, most importantly, we have gone through this road too many times and we advice that it will be a disservice to the nation to re-stir the hornet’s nest.”

They opined that the two releases could force NFF partners and existing and potential sponsors to begin “to rejig their investment layout to steer away from the forecast of more deliberately induced troubles in the NFF in 2016.”

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