Sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung has warned that the upcoming election into the executive committee of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) could be a mere exercise in futility, as it might end up being declared illegal.
Dalung pointed out that several court pronouncements hanging against the NFF make it imperative for those issues to be sorted lout first, rather than go through an electoral process that would not be recognised by law.
Dalung, who is a lawyer and harps on the need to follow legal interpretations, despite such running contrary with statutes of world soccer governing body, FIFA, advocated more peace moves to settle existing face-offs rocking the nation’s football sector.
He stressed that any other step would render the upcoming NFF election as ‘nothing’ and leave the soccer body at level zero, even after the polls on September 20 in Katsina.
The minister insisted that only technical football matters cannot be taken to a civil court oif law, but when a matter infringes on a person’s right such a person is entitled to take it to court.
Dalung stated at length: “The court said they never existed, so if they go ahead to conduct election, it’s still like they have done nothing. We must come back and deal with the issue of the court.
“The best way to resolve this issue is, first to engage themselves honestly and ensure that the matter is taken out of the court.
“The argument where people are saying football issues cannot be taken to court except court of arbitration; those people speaking this have not even read the FIFA statutes.
“FIFA statutes only limited technical issues to the court, issues like fixing of matches, players, organisation of a match because these can truncate the progress of football.
“But things that has to do with personal right of an individual are within the domain of national laws.
“For example we have the United Nations Declaration Consumer Right which accorded every individual to seek redress; you cannot take that right away by any international statutes.
“Section 41 of Nigeria constitution provides that any citizens who feels aggrieved, suspect that his right has been trampled upon, can approach the high court to seek redress.
“These are rights that no statutes can take away. So, when you say FIFA statutes prohibit the issue of taking football matter to conventional court except CAS, you are exhibiting.
“What we called mental hemorrhage that is the highest level of ignorance exhibiting by someone whose parents spent so much money on in sending him to school.
“You have to go and look at the content of those statutes. The statutes still limit and protect the right of individual to seek redress under municipal law.
“In Nigeria we have been made cowards because people will just sit within the confine of their room write letter and intimidate the Giant of Africa, telling us that FIFA is coming.
“Making our children not to be able to defend this country later in future because we are injecting the fear of a monster.
“Elsewhere which we have not said, there is no treaty between Nigeria and FIFA, anybody who claims that we have a treaty should produce a copy.
“There is an affiliation, an agreement, between FIFA and NFF and not everybody is a member of Nigeria Football Federation.
“It’s just like the Boys Scout, which is also an international organisation and it’s the oldest international organisation in Nigeria, it came in 1911.”