*It is high time justice is served – Abuja-based lawyer
Nigeria’s Supreme Court will today in what seems like a make or mar decision either set the nation’s football free or help in permanently incarcerate it in the prison of indiscretion, lack of respect for rules and disregard to national laws.
These are the issues before the apex court in the nation’s longest football leadership tussle since 1945 when the game took root in the west African nation. The 2014 election had dragged the administration of the game Brazilians call ‘jogo bonito’ (the beautiful game) to the stye.
In anticipation of the likely outcome of the decision of the court, www.gongnews.net approached an Abuja -based Sports lawyer, Dr Ben Kingsley, on what are the likely outcomes of the court.
He said, two principal issues are before the court to decide and they are, can a party disobey court order and benefit from the outcome? The other is, can a party after not being satisfied by a peace move return to court to pursue legal option?
Either way, we are likely going to be having what in law is called a ‘legal classicus’ because at the base is the sovereignty of the nation. Can a foreign law be superior to Nigerian law inside Nigeria?
Asked that, there was a time the sitting faction of the NFF told the nation that Giwa’s case was struck out by the Supreme Court, how come the same Supreme Court is still hearing the same matter?
The doctorate degree holder in law laughed and asked rhetoric questions, “why is the Amaju Pinnick-led Board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) panicking over move by an embittered proprietor of Giwa Football Club of Jos, Chris Giwa to drag it to the Supreme Court?’
Dr Kingsley said he was not surprised with the false alarm that the Pinnick-led Board put out to misinform Nigerians because of the anticipated Supreme Court decision. Did they not scammed the nation with a FIFA ban on the parties before the Nigerian court?
“Nigerians cannot be fooled again by the Pinnick Board to start threatening us with FIFA ban. Let me remind Nigerians that it is the same Board that has been going around telling people that Giwa has already lost at the Supreme Court, just to misinform sports loving Nigerians on the true state of the case at the apex court. Why are they now panicking if truly Giwa has lost at the Supreme Court?
“It must also be stated here that the issue of always using the name of FIFA to scare Nigerians when people unlawfully occupy Nigeria Football cannot hold waters any longer. We were all in this country when the apex court in Egypt sacked the Egyptian FA board and FIFA did not ban Egypt, we were all also in this country when the Argentinian FA was dragged to court and FIFA did not ban Argentina from participating at the Copa America tournament, we can’t be fooled again,” he stressed.
By tomorrow (today) the matter will be laid to rest. It is my prayer that the judges have the courage to do what is right. There were political interests that were introduced to a purely legal issue.
Ambassador Chris Giwa has been locked in a tussle for the NFF leadership since 2014. He has argued he was duly elected NFF president in August 2014 and his election should be upheld based on the laws of the land.
His case at the Appeal Court was thrown out and he approached the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, for justice. Today is the day of judgment.