Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) factional president, Amb Chris Giwa, has said that FIFA cannot ban Nigeria over the lingering administrative crisis rocking the federation.
Speaking through his counsel, Barr Ardzard Habilla, during a media parley in Abuja yesterday, Chris Giwa said that he is challenging the world soccer governing body, FIFA, to carry out its threat.
He maintained that it was unnecessary for FIFA to be talking about banning Nigeria when the problem needed to be sorted out internally.
He argued that the threat by FIFA was a calculated attempt to subvert and subjugate the constitution of the country and an act of neocolonialism.
“FIFA is not supposed to interfere in domestic affairs; article 69 (2) of the NFF statutes said: “domestic affairs should be determined in Nigeria and FIFA jurisdiction only comes in when it involves international disputes.
“So, FIFA cannot ban Nigeria; I challenge FIFA, if they feel they are impartial in this matter, let them come to Nigeria or invite both parties to Zurich, Switzerland; that is the rule of natural justice.
“We want to know if FIFA can approbate and reprobate all at the same time.
“Recall that FIFA in responding to a petition by one Barrister Leo Igbokwe, admitted that it has no powers to interfere in the internal matters of NFF, so, what has changed now? It has now assumed powers to interfere in the domestic matters of NFF,” he said.
Speaking further, he said: “Do we take it that FIFA laws are superior to the judgment of the highest court in our land—the Supreme Court, and has FIFA elevated itself before the constitution of Nigeria?
“When we went to Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), it said that the issue before it is not the validity of the election, and that it is the domestic law of Nigeria that should determine the validity of an election or elections.
“FIFA is bound by the decision of CAS and that is why the Giwa-led board went to court to determine the validity of those elections.
“So, if CAS gave this judgment that domestic laws of a country should determine the validity of its elections, why should FIFA threaten to ban Nigeria, when this is the decision of CAS and FIFA is bound by the decision of CAS?
“If FIFA is aggrieved with the decision of CAS, it has the right to go the Swiss Court to seek judicial review, so, FIFA cannot continue to play double standard.
“As we speak, FIFA has never for one day heard from Giwa on this matter rather it prefers to go by the tactics of the Pinnick-led board,” he said.
He further urged FIFA to purge itself of bias and respect the country’s judicial system or face another round of challenge at CAS, wondering why FIFA had refused to recognise the Chris Giwa -led board, which was duly elected on Aug. 26, 2014.
“No one in Nigeria has challenged the validity of that election before NFF Electoral Appeals panel which legally constituted by the former NFF executive committee led by Aminu Maigari,” he added.