Ekeji pleads for time to resolve football crisis

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But for the intervention of the director general of the Nigeria Sports Commission, Patrick Ekeji yesterday, the Aminu Maigari-led board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would have been unseated by the Nigeria Police Force, Harrison Jalla, president of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) has revealed.
“The Inspector General of the police was ready to carry out the order of the court that there was no election into any Nigeria football federation but Patrick Ekeji appealed for a week’s truce so as to sort out issues. By now Maigari and his men would have been out ” Jalla told NEXT Sports. Despite the appeal for time however, Jalla maintained that the end has come for supposedly illegally constituted Maigari-led board. “This is a fight to save Nigeria football, there is no way you can sweep truth under the carpet so be sure that justice will surely prevail,” he said.
According to Jalla, the police yesterday affirmed that the election, which brought in the Maigari-led board of the NFF stands nullified by the order of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos until a superior order vacating that order is made available to her. The police are only being held back by Ekeji’s plea for a week to iron out issues between the warring parties.
Presidential intervention NANF had written a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan, for the federal government to respect a valid order given by the Federal High Court Lagos nullifying the August 26 2010 NFF elections.
It was on that basis that 12 members of the board were yesterday invited by the Inspector General of police (IGP) but only Maigari and 1st vice president, Mike Umeh showed up for the meeting presided over by a commissioner of police in the Force Headquarters. The other 10 members shunned the invitation of the IGP.
Attempt to reach Maigari to confirm the meeting took place proved unsuccessful but Demola Olajire, the federation’s media officer, said the NFF president indeed met with NANF officials at the Force Headquarters. Sources disclosed that the President was enraged that a court gave orders, which were not carried out knowing that the mantra of this government is “rule of law”, as carried over from the Yar’Adua era.
It was gathered that it was the president who ordered the IGP to ensure the complete observance of the Federal High Court order. That it is only to be vacated by a superior court order before the NFF board returns to the Glass House. The commissioner of police (Legal) was given the order by the IGP to follow the presidential order. Ekeji summoned a meeting of the NANF and NFF for 4pm yesterday, where it was gathered that much progress could not be achieved thus necessitating another meeting today by 11.00am. It will be recalled that the Federal High Court Lagos gave an injunction for the August 26 2010 election not to hold. It was held against the orders of that court. The court nullified the election and was to proceed on contempt trial.
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