THE meeting called yesterday by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung had all the trappings of reopening the already settled leadership crisis in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). It took a dangerous turn when the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa who is laying claim to the same office almost engaged each other in fisticuffs.
Pinnick and his greatest challenger, Giwa were locked in a battle for the soul of the NFF after the election in Warri, Delta State on September 30, 2014 which produced the present board. The Confederation of African Football and FIFA have both recognised the Amaju Pinnick-led board. Giwa lost his case both in Fifa and the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS. And this was after he had withdrawn his case from a Jos court when Fifa moved to ban Nigeria.
For more than one year peace reigned in Nigerian football and the meeting the minister called was generally condemned by football stakeholders who said the action was tantamount to waking up a dead horse which could trigger off another bad blood.
Giwa was laying claim to the NFF top seat, saying he was duly elected after the August 26, 2014 controversial election in Abuja in which delegates massively boycotted.
Dalung, a known friend of Giwa back home from Plateau State who just assumed office late last year seemingly reopened the case and initiated an unnecessary peace move that turned out an anti-climax. between the two warring factions. During the meeting, tempers rose, resulting in altercations from both men who called each other unprintable names.
But for the intervention of Dalung who sat in between the two angry men, the situation would have resulted in the two men using their fists as they wanted.
However, after the fracas which lasted for about five minutes, the meeting continued. After long hours of deliberation, the meeting was deadlocked. The Minister told reporters that the meeting will reconvene next week Wednesday.
He asked both parties to maintain the peace and that he will try to resolve the problem in the interest of football and the country.
According to him, the meeting has given him the opportunity to hear from both parties.
On what FIFA would do if the crisis persists, Dalung said he knows that the world body rules over the game adding that they will also be interested to see that the right thing was done.
“I have the will power and the political power to resolve the issue and I am optimistic that this issue will be resolved. We have decided to hear from them because this is a democracy, if we were in a military dictatorship I may have just decreed and asked one party to step down.”