Anambra State Football: Has the NFF been hijacked?
Since the emergence of Ifeanyi Ubah as the undisputed Chairman of the Anambra State Football Association twice, the body language of the NFF has been funny if not absurd so it is necessary that we take a closer look and see if the NFF has a point after all or they are simply dancing naked in the market square.
Before we proceed, it is vital that we take note of some key laws as enacted by the NFF Statutes of 2010, which is also assimilated down to the State Football Associations and Local Football Councils in Nigeria.
1. Article 1 section 1 of the NFF statutes “The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), is a private organization of an associative nature in compliance with the laws of Nigeria” … This simply means that just like the NFF, the Anambra State Football Association is a private organization also in compliance with the laws of Anambra State and Nigeria. Thus, it is immune to and doesn’t recognise Government interference. This is why the Anambra State Government, lacks the powers to dictate when, how and where elections can hold in the Association as it tried to do a few days ago.
2. Article 2 section E states “to respect and prevent any infringement of the statutes, regulations, directives and decisions of FIFA, CAF, WAFU, and NFF as well as the Laws of the Game and to ensure that these are also respected by its members”… The NFF is guilty of breaching this law by blatantly refusing to acknowledge the duly elected Chairman of Anambra State Football Association as voted by the Anambra State Football Congress, Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah not once but twice.
3. Article 3 states:
“1. NFF is neutral in matters of politics and religion.
2. Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, POLITICS, or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by SUSPENSION or EXPULSION” … Again the NFF is guilty of breaking this law because it is public knowledge that Sen Ifeanyi Ubah and the present administration of Anambra State are not just rivals but belong to different political inclinations and thus, the NFF through Gusau, has no right to take the side of the government as his proclamations not only supports the government but edifies the interference of the State government in Anambra State Football. Gusau’s actions and the body language of the NFF presently, can be expressly interpretated as pure discrimination against the Anambra State Association Chairman, Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah and thus, Gusau and his cohorts, should be expelled from the NFF and banned from all footballing activities as stipulated in the law.
4. Article 9 section 1 reads “The General Assembly shall decide whether to admit, suspend or expel a member” as supported by Article 14 .. The Anambra State Football Congress, appointed Emeka Ralph as its Acting Secretary when Onyedika Chijioke went AWOL during the election period only to resurface on the kangaroo nomination list, showing that he played an active part in sabotaging the success and smooth transition of the Anambra State FA elections.
5. Article 10 section 1 states “The members of NFF are: (a) State Football Associations including the FCT… while Article 36 section 3 states “Any member of the Executive Committee must withdraw from the debate if there is any risk or possibility of conflict on interests with a member of NFF” … By the pronouncment circulated this morning and accredited to the NFF executive committee, it is clear that those involved has violated the above statutes as they have actively involved themselves in a debate against the clear wish of the Anambra State Football Association, which empowered by the Anambra State Congress, have elected Ifeanyi Ubah as the undisputed Chairman. By the above law, the publication is null and void.
6. Article 18 section 2 states “The affiliated State Football Associations, Clubs, Leagues and Groups of NFF shall take all decisions on any matters regarding their membership independently of any external body. This obligation applies regardless of their corporate structure”… The Anambra State Football Congress had never at any instance, called on the National Body to assist it with decision making of any kind rather, it had gone about its legitimate business of ensuring a smooth transition of tenures and arrived at a very conclusive and peaceful resolution whereby more than 90% of the Congress adopted Ifeanyi Ubah as the Chairman. This means that the NFF which is an external body in this matter, is of little consequence and thus, its opinion is just for academic purposes as it has no bearing whatsoever on the final decision of the Anambra State Football Congress.
7. Article 23 section A states “The General Assembly has the authority to adopt or amend the statutes, regulations governing the application of the statutes and standing orders of the General Assembly” also Article 30 article 4 states “A proposal for an amendment to the statutes shall be adopted only if three-quarters of the members present and eligible to vote agree to it”…. This gives the Anambra State Football Congress the power to amend the Anambra State Football statutes, authorizing the electoral committee to run the virtual elections.
8. Article 24 section 1 states “Decisions taken by the General Assembly shall only be valid if the absolute majority (50% + 1) of the members who are entitled to vote are represented”.. More than 90% of the Congress consented to the amendment of the statutes as well as the appointment of Emeka Ralph as the Acting Secretary of the Association.
9. Article 25 section 2 reads “A decision that requires a vote shall be reached by show of hands or by means of an electronic count….” On this premise, the Anambra State Football Congress has the right to approve the use of virtual system in the conducting of the elections that produced Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah as the Chairman of the Anambra State Football Association.
10. Article 26 section 4 states “The elections shall be conducted in accordance and compliance with Electoral Code of the NFF as directed by FIFA” … Failure of the NFF to state any default in the process of elections itself, is testament to the fact that the elections were held in full compliance with the NFF and FIFA statutes.
From the above, it is clear that some members of the NFF are hellbent on giving the institution a bad image by flagrantly breaking multiple laws which it should be protecting and clearly shows that no wrongdoing or shortcuts were employed by either the Anambra State Football Congress and Electoral Committee before, during and after the elections that produced Sen Dr Ifeanyi Ubah as the undisputed Chairman of the Anambra State Football Association not once but twice!
I hereby call on the President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick to quickly arrest this situation and not allow these persons ruin the good works and achievements he has accomplished thus far.
I also call for the full weight of the hammer of justice to descend on Ibrahim Gusau not just targeting Sen Ifeanyi Ubah which is an act of discrimination and has also brought the integrity of Federation to great disrepute but instigating bitterness and rancour into the peaceful state of Anambra through his careless actions and utterances.
Finally, for the NFF to respect the decisions of the Anambra State Football Congress and the Electoral Committee.
I have full confidence in the capacity of Amaju Melvin Pinnick not to let a few people, destroy our national heritage and identity.
The Football stakeholders of Anambra State hereby reject the caretaker committee and those listed therein as they are desperate persons, who have nothing to offer as most of whom failed woefully in the just concluded elections and only recognise the duly conducted and concluded elections as handled by the Electoral Committee of the Anambra State Football Association.
Ugochukwu ‘Thanos’ Ifeanyi, Media/Sports Consultant, Nnewichi Nnewi, Anambra State.