By James Agberebi:
The Minister of Youth and Sports Solomon Dalung has urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to abandon all plans for elections into the next board and concentrate on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Dalung made the remark in Port Harcourt after the Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw by Democratic Republic of Congo in a farewell/ friendly game at the Adokiye Amesiemeka Stadium on Monday.
The Minister’s statement was related to the controversy between Chris Giwa, and the current NFF board led by Amaju Pinnick.
Giwa is insisting that the mandate given to his ‘board’ at the Chida Hotel, Abuja by the factional congress of the NFF in August 2013 should be upheld.
The Minister noted that the Federal Government has invested so much towards qualifying for the World Cup and achieving a respectable World Cup result, stressing that a call for purchase of forms and setting up of an electoral committee at this time was a distraction to the team’s preparation.
“The NFF should put everything concerning elections and electoral committees on hold and concentrate on the World Cup preparation which is more important to the passion of the country,” Dalung is quoted in a press release signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Nneka Anibeze.
“The country has invested so much right from the campaign for a ticket till date so we cannot afford any distractions in the name of elections.
“The World Cup and elections cannot be pursued concurrently therefore all issues on the next elections into the NFF board should be suspended pending the outcome of legal advice from the Attorney- General on the decision of the Supreme Court on the current crises in the Federation.”
He called the attention of the NFF to the Supreme Court’s verdict, which ruled that Giwa’ case be relisted, and warned that calling for elections without legal advice from the Attorney-General will further generate confusion and distraction.
He advised that all efforts should be tailored towards mobilizing support for the team to the World Cup which is the most important and paramount thing to do at this time.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, the timetable for this year’s NFF elections was released.
According to the timetable, sale of forms would began on Monday, May 21, 2018.
Screening of candidates is scheduled to take place between Thursday, 19th July and Saturday, 21st July 2018 while names of successful candidates are to be released two days after the last day of screening.
Unsuccessful candidates would be able to file their protests/appeals between Tuesday, July 24 -26, while the same will be heard July 27-28
Final list of candidates for the elections will be made public on Monday, 30th July 2018, with the elections to hold on Saturday, 29th September 2018.