The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) Taskforce has issued a stern warning to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) against defying court order with regards to its upcoming elections.
NFF Electoral Committee had fixed Sept. 30 as the date for its elective congress in Benin and proceeded to release a schedule of events for the congress.
This is inspite of a Federal High Court Abuja order on Sept. 15, putting the NFF Election on hold.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the claimants, Celsus Ukpong, ordered the the minister, Pinnick or any person, acting on their instruction, to maintain a status quo.
This he said was pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
The Chairman PFAN Taskforce, Harrison Jalla on Friday in Abuja told newsmen at a press conference that all those defying the court order would face the consequences of their actions.
“The PFAN Taskforce has been drawn to publications in the media space on the threat by NFF and its Electoral Committee to defy the Sept. 15 court order.
“In the light of the above threat, the PFAN Taskforce has taken appropriate steps and has duly informed all relevant Agencies of Government of threat to cause a breach of the peace by defying the court order.
“The PFAN Taskforce is exploring all possibilities within the ambit of the law to ensure those who are already defying the court order would face the consequences of their actions,” he said.
Jalla said that the NFF have continued to violate and breach court orders.
This he said was inspite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s advice that they go back as a body to amend the statutes, expound it and accommodate those who have been disenfranchised.
“As we speak, they are already breaching the orders of court because we see correspondences after the court order, campaigns are still going on bravingly.
“So, we are taking the appropriate steps to ensure that those who do this don’t go scout free.
“We don’t need the government to do that for us as we have all it takes within the armbit of the law to ensure that the election does not hold,” he said.
He noted that the order from the court to halt the election was a result of a consistent and deliberate act by the NFF to breach the orders of the court since 2021.
He noted that every Nigerian is a citizen of the country, adding that the threat by NFF to defy the court order was unacceptable as nobody was above the law.
He streseesd that the federation had no immunity from the law of the land even as FIFA itself had no immunity from the laws of Switzerland.
“The order we got from court didn’t just start today.
We’ve been in court four times, the two parties have been in court since 2021 and at the last hearing date in June, the court gave us Oct. 31 to come back.
“We asked for an interlocutory order because we anticipated that an election would hold.
“They said no, they are not going to do any election because there was no cause for that action and the court agreed with them as there was no electoral committee in place at the time.
“The judge thereafter stood down the order and gave us a date to come back, which is on Oct. 31.
“Inbetween that period, they set up an electoral committee and started selling forms. There is no court that will accept that anywhere in the world and that was how this order came about.
“So, when the court order was issued, it was because they were already violating the process in court. This has really nothing to do with stopping the election.
“If any other group is now telling us that they are not bound by that order of court, then we will take it from there,” he said.
Also, Victor Baribote, the PFAN Spokesman said that it was very clear that the Nigeria Football house was not in order.
He said that in the last eight years there has been nothing to show for all what the federal government did, all the funds FIFA brought in and all the funds that were realised from the private sector.
“You are all aware of the activities which have been going on within the football circle of late.
“Pricisely on June 26, 2021, PFAN set up a task force in its wisdom to look at issues on how we can advance our football.
“You are all aware and witnesses to the fact we have been recycling old hands in the NFF.
“On the strength of that, the task force wrote a letter to the NFF last year in line with Article 29, requesting for an ammendment of the Statutes to include every stakeholder.
“But to cut the long story short, the NFF have blantantly refused to do anything about it,” he said.
The former Nigeria Premier League Chairman said the position of PFAN was that election was not important at the moment, adding that fixing of the nation’s football was the top priority.
He noted that Nigeria had all it takes to succeed, including the economy, population and talents, adding that football can even become the biggest employer of labour in the country, if the right thing is done.
“It is not about election because the election we are talking about is the same one that will reproduce the same people who brought us to where we are today and that is unacceptable.
“So, we are ready to answer any name to make football work again in this country. We are not going to let it go. The president himself has said it is a national asset that should be guarded jealously.
“So, our position is that we have to sit down as a group, fix the game, include those who are supposed to be part of it and we take it from there.
“If that is not done, then if it is FIFA or the Federal Government that wants to intervene in this process, it is left for them to come and do what is necessary, he said