Your action tantamounts to corruption, Reps chide Dalung

TO what extent will Youth and Sports Minister Solomon Dalung continue to back Chris Giwa’s moves to take over the Nigeria Football Federation even at the expense of growth of Nigerian football? Solomon Dalung While world football governing body, FIFA, the highest sports arbitration body in the world , Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS, and all men of goodwill have continued to recognise the Amaju Pinnick-led Nigeria Football Federation as properly elected and therefore the authentic football authorities in Nigeria, the Minister  has continued to be on the other side, fueling the leadership problem in the football house. This was how Nigerian lawmakers saw Dalung and clearly said so in their interactive session in Abuja. The Minister drew their irk by continuously

asking the Pinnick board to accommodate some members of the Chris Giwa group in their Executive Committee after they won election. Pinnick was duly elected at the Warri Congress of the NFF in 2014 while the earlier purported election in Abuja was not recognised by NFF Congress and FIFA. But the Minister wants Amaju to co-opt Giwa’s group and maintains it is the solution to the crisis that he resurrected on assuming office as minister. And he told the lawmakers this in Abuja. After making this presentation to sports editors in Lagos last month the minister told the House of Representatives Committee on sports the same thing. Tired of the controversies in Nigeria’s football, the committee had invited the minister and the NFF over the lingering crisis in football. Dalung told the committee that peace would have returned to football if Pinnick agreed to admit into his executive committee, at least, four members of the Giwa group. The lawmakers were scandalised especially after they learned that constitution into the Executive Committee was by election. They saw the minister’s position as not only fueling the crisis in Nigerian football but also outrageous and promoting and encouraging corruption. Honourable Asabe Vilita Bashir, representing Gwoza/Chibok Federal Constituency from Borno State told Dalung to his face that his plan to coerce into an elected body those who didn’t win election was tantamount to promoting corruption. He was reportedly furious and told the minister that they were all from APC, the party  fighting corruption in all ramifications. He wondered why the minister would be making a case for an elected body to accommodate those who did not win election, arguing that any such coercion was tantamount to corruption which the APC abhors. Members of the Goni Bukar-led House Committee saw the minister’s partisanship and sympathy for Chris Giwa as fueling the recent leadership crisis in Nigerian football. Giwa is laying claim to the Presidency of the Federation following a court ruling which he dropped when FIFA threatened to ban Nigeria but later re-listed after the supposed backing from Dalung. He had gone to court to quash the election of the Pinnick board. The minister contended before the House Committee that the Pinnick-led administration was supposed to accommodate some members of the Giwa group. This infuriated the committee members. Nobody could reconcile the minister’s position. Speaking to Vanguard Sports in Abuja, Deputy Chairman of House Committee on Sports, Rep Anayo Nnebe noted that the minister at the interactive forum at the National Assembly was saying that the NFF should accommodate Giwa in its activities. The lawmaker who represents Awka North/Awka South Federal Constituency of Anambra State said that a member of the Committee (Bashir) was not happy with the position of Dalung when there was election that brought Pinnick and other members of the executive into power. He further noted that the minister, having stated there was no court order or judgment declaring Giwa as the president of NFF, there was no basis for Dalung to say that Pinnick should accommodate Giwa in the running of the affairs of NFF. According to him, “As far as I am concerned, NFF is led by Pinnick, he is the authentic president of the football ruling body.” The members of the House Committee were unanimous that the position of the minister was encouraging the crisis in NFF and advised him not to derail the development of sports in the country.



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