Nigeria football is at the risk of a FIFA ban after a Jos court failed to deliver judgment on the case between Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick and his challenger Chris Giwa on Tuesday.
The four-year-old case was expected to be resolved at the Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau State but it was adjourned to 25 September.
Pinnick has been the NFF President since 2014 but a Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago appeared to give Giwa the mandate, and he has since presumably assumed office.
Tuesday was fixed to hear a new motion filed by Pinnick, challenging the ex parte order the court granted Giwa.
Pinnick approached the court for the relief after the Supreme Court judgment which ordered him to comply with the lower court’s order that compelled him to vacate the office for Giwa.
Giwa is not recognised by FIFA as he is serving a ban. He also lost the case with Pinnick at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is the highest adjudicator in sporting matters.
Justice Musa Kurya, the Presiding judge in the case between Yahaya Adama and Aminu Maigari, had, on June 5, given an ex parte order asking Pinnick’s NFF leadership to vacate the Glass House for the Giwa-led executive.
But Pinnick, through his counsel, Festus Keyamo (SAN), approached the court with two motions demanding the vacation of the order granted Giwa and others, pending the determination of an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Instead of finally resolving the case, drama ensued on Tuesday as both sets of lawyers failed to agree on certain processes and Justice Musa Kurye adjourned to 25 September as the court is on vacation.
Amaju’s lawyer Festus Keyamo however advised the court not to take such a long date as FIFA is waiting for the outcome of the suit to take a decision on Nigeria.
He proceeded further to say that an imminent ban looms for Nigerian football if the right steps are not taken by the parties involved.
Counsel to the parties have admitted that FIFA had written them on the consequences of the current situation and Keyamo showed the court a copy of a letter from FIFA.
The grave implication of the adjournment and failure to resolve the case is that Giwa will continue to claim leadership of the NFF in defiance of his lack of recognition by FIFA and the global body could ban the country.
However, the NFF have to report their domestic situation to FIFA for the global governing body to take drastic action. The only NFF recognised by FIFA is the one headed by Pinnick, who is also the Vice-president of the Confederation of African Football.
It is understood that Pinnick and any Nigerians on FIFA and CAF committees will not be prevented from carrying out their international duties.
However, if a ban is placed on Nigeria, the Super Eagles would not be able to play their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles in September, while the Super Falcons, Falconets, other national teams and Enyimba, who are in the CAF Confederation Cup, would also be affected.
Packaged by Lanre Olabisi