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Sunday Dare, youth and sports minister with Amaju Pinnik, NFF president
Sunday Dare, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Amaju Pinnick President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), were on Thursday, restrained from conducting the NFF executive election scheduled for Sept. 30 in Edo.
A Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on an ex-parte motion moved by counsel for the claimants, Celsus Ukpong, ordered the the minister, Mr Pinnik or any person, acting on their instruction, to maintain a status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Ruled he: “Counsel for the claimants informed the court that the defendants are taking action that will adversely affect the subject matter of this case.
“Parties are hereby ordered to maintain status quo ante pending final order of this court”.
Justice Ekwo then reverted the matter to October 31 for hearing.
In the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1376/2021, Harrison Jalla, Chief Victor Rumson Baribote, Austin Popo and National Association of Nigerian Footballers (NANF) are 1st to 4th claimants respectively.
In the application dated and filed on September 2, NFF, Pinnick and the minister are 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
In the motion, the claimants’ sought an interim order restraining the defendants, their agents, employees, staff, officials or electoral committee from organising or conducting any election into any executive office of the NFF pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
In the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Fayenengigha Jacob, a lawyer in the chamber of Ukpong, he said the defendants had been served with processes in the case and that NFF and Pinnick had entered appearance in the matter, while the minister, though, served with court papers, had not entered appearance.
Jacob averred that one of the complaints in the matter was the undemocratic manner in which the NFF was being constituted resulting in depriving the majority of the stakeholders and members of the NFF of having a say or contributing to the development of football in Nigeria.
He said that the glory of Nigeria football had nosedived as a result of the undemocratic manner of the leadership of the said body, adding that the complainants were deliberately excluded from the last congress held in Lagos for no just reason.
Said Jacob: “That the claimant had legitimately called on the leadership of the said body to set machinery in motion to amend the 2010 NFF statute that was manipulated to deprive the majority of the NFF members such as the Professional Football Association, the league, the coaches body and the players from participating in any election let alone of winning same.
“That the said leadership of the NFF, the 2nd defendant (Pinnick), his agents, privies refused or neglected to allow the due process to take place in amending the said 2010 NFF statute”.
Jacob said while this matter is still pending in court the defendants are going ahead to announce and purportedly try to organise and conduct an election of the said body in September, 2022.
He said the defendants had been served with the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction to restrain them from conducting any election into the executive offices of NFF until after the hearing and determination of the substance matter.
While the motion on notice for interlocutory order restraining the defendants from disturbing the rest in the matter, he said, the defendants had drawn out a time table and set up an electoral committee to conduct an election to the offices in question on Friday September 30, 2022 in Benin City, Edo State.
He said the substance of the matter would be defeated should the said election slated for September go ahead and without hearing of the pending motions and substantive matter.