Nigeria Players Union has appealed for the urgent intervention of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan in restoration of peace in the protracted crisis rocking the Nigeria Football Federation.
In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the Union, Austin Popo, urged the President Jonathan to wade into the ongoing crisis, citing Nigeria footballers as major victims of the impasse.
Popo in a detailed account tagged: “Nigeria Players Account” of what transpired at the factional NFF Congress held on August 26 explained extensively it side of the story.
“Following contradicting accounts of what transpired during the 26th of August 2014 NFF Congress in Abuja as widely reported in the media, it is expedient and important that the Nigeria Players Union one of the members of the NFF Congress put the record straight and let the world and most especially the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan have a proper assessment of the situation of August 26th, because of what the present crises in the NFF potent to his administration that has invested so much on sports and especially Football because of its unifying force and capacity to keep Nigerians together as one.
“Letters of invitation was sent to all members of the NFF Congress, which the Nigeria Players Union happens to be one of the 44 members of the congress at Chida hotel Abuja on the 26th of August 2014 by 4pm, containing one Agenda, which is to find a new road map for a credible election into the Executive committee of the NFF, that guarantee transparency, justice and fairness to all stake holders and aspirants. Apart from the invitation letter from the NFF, the FIFA letter conveying this new directive was equally forwarded to all members of the Congress.
“Prior to the Abuja Congress, a meeting hosted by the Secretary to the Federal Government attended by all major stake holders settled for a Congress on the 26th of August 2014, that will set the tune for an Elective Congress on the 4th of September 2014, in line with FIFA directives and venue to be shifted from Warri to Abuja. The then President of the Federation Aminu Maigari is to preside on the meeting that will lead to the termination of his executive Committee. It’s also important to note that FIFA directed that a new electoral committee should be set up to carry the election of 4th September 2014, and all parties agreed to go by this line.
“Such was the mind set of all delegates’ members of the NFF Congress when we set out for the 26th of August Congress. Getting to Abuja all the secretaries of members of Congress, namely the 37 states Football Associations, including the FCT, the league bodies, players Union, Referees Association and Coaches Association where lodged in Syrop Hotel Wuye, while the Chairmen of members of congress as highlighted above where lodged in Chida Hotel Utako, the same venue of the Congress. On the early hours of 26th of August 2014, at about 2:00am some of the aspirants, namely Mr Giwa, Chief Obina Ogba woke us up, I mean all the secretaries lodged at Syrop hotel to do a kind of mini campaign, to sell themselves to the delegates in advance since 4th September is not too far away.
“After the meetings of the Congress secretaries, we were about to move from our Hotel to Congress venue to formalize our accreditation at about, 2.30pm when we started receiving calls to hold on because armed policemen in their hundreds has invaded the venue of the Congress at Chida Hotel, that the president, Aminu Miagari, Musa Amadu, the General Secretary and the chairman of the technical committee Barrister Green has been arrested by the Director of State Security. After waiting for hours, the chairmen of the members of congress who were about to be forced to go on with the Congress without the principals who were legitimately empowered by the statutes to carry out the activities of the day, were not available, it was at this point according to the president of the Players Union Dahiru Sadi (MFR) they had to forced their way out of the venue of the Congress to visit the DSS, but not before coming to pick the secretaries from their Hotels. Some of the delegates here already at the DSS office when we got information that second Bus conveying other members of the congress where being detained along Shehu Shagari way in Maitama Abuja, we now moved to the spot to talk with the security officers, who refused us to move to the DSS office, that they have instructions that we must go back to the venue of the Election.
“At Shehu Shagari Way where Congress members were detained for over seven hours, it was a display of Solidarity by about 34 congress chairmen and their secretaries, the kind that has never been witnessed in the history of Nigeria Football, it was a defence for democracy and the rule of law, this was the situation until we had information that the General secretary has been released. The General Secretary was released and escorted by security operatives to go and conduct an election that was not part of Congress Agenda. The honourable Minister of Sports went to declare a Congress open which was made up just 4 members of Congress, which is the chairmen and secretaries of Kwara, Kogi, Akwa Ibom, and Yobe states Football Associations, plus a borrowed crowed.
“The general secretary under duress made the statutory roll call, having realized that majority of the people present where not congress members apart from the four earlier mentioned, in other words apart from the fact that a quorum has not been properly constituted, and further still that the Congress agenda has been altered to include election against FIFA directives and the agreement reached in the meeting hosted by the Secretary to the Federal government he had to storm out of the hall.
“With the freedom of general secretary secured, the Congress of the NFF met in the conference Hall of Bentley Hotel with all the members of the executive committee, including the vice present Mike Umeh were present, except the President and the chairman of the technical committee, Aminu Maigari and Barrister Green and one other board member. 40 members, chairmen and secretaries of the NFF Congress were present which carried out the activities of Congress in line with its agenda and the NFF Statutes.
“Some major decisions of the congress, includes, dissolution of the former Board of the NFF in line the NFF statutes, appointment of new electoral and appeal committees and new date of 4th of September 2014,fixed for the Elective congress in line with FIFA directives and agreement reached in the meeting hosted by the Secretary to the state government.
“Article 22; 1 (A to H) this article of the NFF statutes is very clear and specific on status and number of NFF Congress Delegates and Votes. It has been established from the records of attendance captured in the congress of the NFF that took place at Bentley Hotel shows 40 members out 44 members of congress, so where did they get number of votes as recorded in the results sheets declared in the purported election that took place at Chida Hotel. It was even funnier when we learnt that one Ben Agari cast his votes as representative of the players Union while the president and the secretary of the players Union were at Shehu Shagari way as the time of the purported election. Also see Article 22:2 and 3.
“Article 23: 1 (J) Areas of authority of the Congress (electing the President, Vice President and other members of the executive committee). Article 24: 1, 2, and 3 Quorum of the General Assembly; Inability for the purported congress at Chida Hotel to form a quorum was a clear violation and abuse of the NFF Statutes and the electoral process. Article 26: 2 and Election par 4 of this article specifically says “the election shall be conducted in accordance and in compliance with Electoral code of the NFF, as directed by FIFA,” it concluded.
Meanwhile, the Players Union in it resolution urged the urgent involvement of the President to salvage the career of its colleagues.
“We have taken time to inform everyone who cares to bother including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of what truly transpire in Abuja on the 26th of august, because apart from being a member of the Congress,” Popo said.
“We also realize that our members, the hard working Nigeria Footballers will be the greatest loser and victims and not the politicians trying to hijack the process of football democracy for their selfish interest should FIFA banned Nigeria.
“Mr President your aids may not tell you this hard truth some of them has been compromised, we cannot watch while some individuals in the corridor of powers will want to rubbish all the good work you done for Nigeria Sports,” he concluded.