Compromise, an exercise in futility, says Jalla
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00  By Gowon Akpodonor  Sport  –  Home

CHAIRMAN of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF), Harrison Jala, has described as “an exercise in futility” the compromise reached by the warring factions and stakeholders in Nigerian football to withdraw their court cases and work harmoniously.

Throwing to the trashcan the resolution brokered by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the Supervising Minister of Sports and Youth Development/Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdullahi, and the NSC Director-General, Patrick Ekeji, he maintained that his faction would continue with its court case until the Supreme Court makes pronouncement on it.

“For us at NANF, it is only when the Supreme Court makes a statement on Nigerian football that we can have peace. We shall remain in court until we achieve this goal,” Jala said.

“Those who went for a circus show called compromise have desecrated the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and disparaged the judiciary. They should hide their heads in shame. I can assure you that the resolution was an exercise in futility.”

For six days, Senator Anyim, Abdullahi, Ekeji and President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, were involved in several meetings aimed at resolving the logjam in the country’s football.

A court pronouncement in January that the NFF and the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) were not properly incorporated and therefore not known to the laws of the Federal Republic had thrown the Maigari-led board off balance.

The court had ruled in favour of Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, whose name was omitted from the election that brought the Maigari-led board to power.

Before the court pronouncement in January, the football house had witnessed several court cases, prominent among them the legal tussles between the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) and the NFF on one hand, and the face-off between the Jarrett Tenebe-led Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the NFF.

There was also the legal tussle between Davidson Owumi and the NFF/NPL after his election as NPL chairman was nullified. Midway into the crisis, an agreement was allegedly reached among NANF, NFF, NSC and other stakeholders, and the leadership of NANF led by former international, Harrison Jalla, was told to withdraw its case from court.

While that process was on, the NFF sacked from the NPL Owumi, a candidate NANF and the stakeholders were trying to protect. A new crisis emerged shortly after, giving birth to the disagreement between the Tenebe-led NFA and the NFF.

A court order followed with a declaration that the NFF was illegal, and for several months, Maigari and his board ran from pillar to post seeking resolution to the crisis. Sensing danger, the NSC waded in once again and set up a committee headed by former chairman of the defunct NFA, Gen. Dominic Oneya, to look into the problems of Nigerian football and recommend how to tackle them. The committee had since submitted its report.

Before Tuesday’s resolution, however, Abdullahi was quoted in some sections of the media as ordering the NFF board to resign. But there was a rebuttal shortly before the resolution was made public on Tuesday. While Sam Sam Jaja and Ray Nnaji were invited to the deliberations on Tuesday, other gladiators like Tenebe, Jalla and Owumi were left out.

And for the NANF boss, Jalla, there are more questions than answers in the action taken by Anyim, Abdullahi and Ekeji. Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Jalla asked: “What happened to the agreement reached among NANF, the illegal NFF, National Sports Commission and other stakeholders?

“What happened to the agreement with the Jarrett Tenebe-led NFA and NANF that necessitated the Gen. Oneya Committee report, and what has become of that report? Has the National Judicial Council’s report on Justice Auta and Justice Kolawole’s alleged fraudulent judgment been made public? What is the situation with NANF’s appeal on Justice Okorowa’s judgment?

“What has happened to the recent NANF case between the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice versus five others at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos in suit No. FHC/L/CS/49/2012? What makes this compromise different from others? Who says NANF will not enforce Justice Okorowa’s judgment?”

After Tuesday’s resolution in Abuja, officials of the NFF jubilated late into the night with Maigari praising the efforts of Senator Anyim, who was said to have had two meetings with parties involved and pleaded for a peaceful resolution.

Maigari said that with the peaceful resolution of the matter, Nigerian football would breath an air of relief once again. He said: “I am very happy with the role of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. I also commend the genuine efforts of the Minister/Chairman, NSC, Bolaji Abdullahi, and the D-G, Patrick Ekeji.

“What we have achieved today is a milestone. Now, we can fully concentrate on our programmes and also on the development projects that we have. The SGF’s personal interest and intervention have been key to this resolution, and we hail him greatly.”

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